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Undergraduate Spotlight: Isabelle Cashe

Headshot of Isabelle Cashe

Photo of Isabelle Cashe

Isabelle Cashe is a current senior in the undergraduate Philosophy Department. Her primary interests include ethics and ethical theory, jurisprudence, and the philosophy of fiction. On campus, Isabelle is a core member of Stanford Students in Entertainment, an editor for the Stanford Undergraduate Law Review, and a member of the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority. Previously, Isabelle served as president of the Stanford Film Society and was selected as a fellow in Stanford’s 2022-2023 Intercollegiate Civil Disagreement Program Fellowship (ICDP) cohort. Outside of her studies, Isabelle enjoys language learning, cooking, and working as a Resident Assistant in one of Stanford’s first-year undergraduate dorms.

Why did you choose to participate in the Honors Program in Ethics in Society?

I am an extremely curious person. For that reason, I don’t find it entirely surprising that I am ending my undergraduate career with a thesis. That being said, I cannot imagine a better place to carry out my research than in this program. The questions that fascinate me often are those that draw from multiple disciplines. The Ethics in Society Honors Program has given me the freedom to explore these interdisciplinary topics while ensuring I maintain philosophical rigor. This has been a demanding program, but the care and personalized guidance I have received are truly second to none.

What was the most rewarding aspect of your experience in the Honors Program?

The most rewarding aspect of writing this thesis has been creating a philosophical framework I genuinely believe in. My thesis was born out of a knowledge gap I found personally distressing. Addressing my own doubts and answering a question that truly puzzled me has been an extremely fulfilling experience. While I am certain that my argument could be made even stronger, there now exists an answer to this question that was not there before.

In a few sentences, describe your honors thesis research.

My thesis is an ethical evaluation of psychological narrativity: the practice of treating oneself as a protagonist and one’s life as a story. Though there is considerable scholarship on psychological narrativity, there are strikingly few works addressing one of its biggest questions: if I am the main character, are others simply side characters in my story? My research investigates how psychological narrativity may color our interactions and relationships with those around us. I ultimately suggest that engaging with a certain kind of fiction (stories with conflicting character allegiances) could help us recognize others’ narrative importance in our own lives.

What opportunities would you like to pursue within the next five years?

After graduation, I plan to pursue a juris doctor degree and focus my studies on legal philosophy and entertainment law. I am undecided, however, on how I plan to use my law degree after this. I would be incredibly happy working in entertainment, helping to shape industry standards for fair work and quality storytelling. I would be equally happy continuing my legal or philosophical education, studying questions that have yet to be answered. Nevertheless, on either of these paths, I plan to place ethics and ethical theory at the very center of what I do.