Fatim Sannoh, a Neumann University junior and resident of Darby, is one of 16 college students who have been selected to present papers at the Greater Philadelphia Philosophy Consortium's Undergraduate Philosophy Conference at The College of New Jersey on February 8. Sannoh's paper is entitled "Life, the Universe, and Finding Who We Are."
Other students presenting papers at the conference study at Bryn Mawr College, Haverford College, Kansas State University, Loyola University of New Orleans, The College of New Jersey, and Villanova University among others.
In her paper, Sannoh, 20, explores the concept that "plain living" brings unimaginable happiness. Born in the West African country of Liberia, she admits that she lived simply in her native land and experienced culture shock at Western materialism when she moved to the United States at age 12.
She writes that "In today's society, the common belief is that having a lot of wealth, power, materialistic things . . . can make anyone happy." She argues the contrary, that "plain living can help us get rid of the unnecessary things in our lives, making us more likely to do good for others." She concludes that living simply can bring happiness and peace of mind.
Sannoh draws from her Islamic background and her philosophy courses to make her case, citing the Quran and quoting Aristotle along the way. A biology major, she also uses her science education to ponder whether one's happiness is determined more by genetics or environment.
She was inspired to submit a paper to the conference by Dr. Philip Pegan and Dr. Geoffrey Karabin, her philosophy professors at Neumann. Dr. John Mizzoni had alerted all philosophy minors to the conference and urged them to submit papers. He provided editorial assistance to Sannoh.
All 16 students will hear a keynote address by Dr. Joshua Knobe of Yale University.
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