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Senior Noel Dominguez Carves a Path

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By Ariel Drouault ‘11
With graduation behind them, many recent alumni are figuring out their next step, whether getting a job, or getting a higher-level degree. I spoke to one senior who has some pretty exciting plans for the fall.

Noel Dominguez 2Noel Dominguez '08, from Miami, has been accepted into the Harvard PhD program for philosophy. Noel is going to focus on ethics and blameworthiness, which was the topic of his thesis. More specifically, he focused on whether or not inadvertent actions could be deserving of blame. Most of the texts about moral responsibility suggest that actions can only be blameworthy if they were intentional. The idea that actions could be blameworthy and were inadvertent was anathema to the texts which he read. Noel's thesis suggests a new theory of blameworthiness for genuinely unintentional actions, in order to make sense of implicit bias.

In its entirety, Harvard is a fairly large school, compared to Simon's Rock. However, the PhD philosophy program has 30 students, with 17 professors.

The Harvard PhD program in philosophy is incredibly competitive, and accepts six students annually, out of a total of 2000 applicants, which means that their acceptance rate is 0.03%. The first chapter of the thesis is the writing sample that he submitted to gain admission to Harvard.

Noel DominguezAccording to Noel, at Simon's Rock he created his own course of study. In the Harvard PhD program, half the professors focus on Ethics, so it will be a different experience for him.

Making this even more extraordinary is the fact that Noel is also the first person in his family to attend college.

Over the summer, he'll be attending a German reading course at Harvard, to prepare for looking at the original untranslated texts.

I guess, within ethics and philosophy, he's found his Nietzsche.

Listen to BA Class Speech Noel Dominguez and classmate Joelle Chevrier delivered at commencement.