Purdue University Graduate School
ReyesEspinoza_Summer2019_TowardAnEthicsofTragicUncertainty, MiguelDeUnamunoandGlobalSocialConflict_Purdue-University-Dissertation_ETD_HammerRR .pdf (932.63 kB)

Toward an Ethics of Tragic Uncertainty: Miguel de Unamuno and Global Social Conflict

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posted on 2019-08-02, 15:42 authored by Reyes EspinozaReyes Espinoza

My dissertation is in two parts. First, it develops a philosophical concept of “tragic uncertainty,” derived from early twentieth-century Spanish philosopher Miguel de Unamuno. Secondly, it demonstrates ethical application of tragic uncertainty to human societal events. The ethical imperative created from tragic uncertainty—and not either tragedy or uncertainty alone—is the following. Given a tragic situation with a great degree of uncertainty, people living with doubt, mental despair, and perpetual anguish because of it should be provided relief. Generally, this relief should be in the form of therapy, by which I mean an affective and emotional release. Two important case studies are explored. One on corrupted political systems in the USA-Mexico border. The other in Honduras, on both climate change and corrupted political systems. These are explained and categorized as tragically uncertain. Corresponding, minimal practical solutions accompany the ethical imperative created to remedy tragic uncertainty.


Degree Type

  • Doctor of Philosophy


  • Philosophy

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Dr. Daniel W. Smith

Additional Committee Member 2

Dr. Leonard Harris

Additional Committee Member 3

Dr. William L. McBride

Additional Committee Member 4

Dr. Luis Rubén Díaz Cepeda

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