Department of


Undergraduate Research in Philosophy

The academic culture in Philosophy is centered around the individual investigator. Research is generally an individual matter, augmented by discussion with other philosophers, which is an important part of the development of philosophical ideas. Students develop their own research in classes at the upper levels.

Seminar for Majors: The capstone course for the philosophy major (and also open to students with a minor in philosophy) is an undergraduate seminar offered each year. Students participating in this seminar will learn about the conduct of philosophical research and the research of faculty members and participate in discussion that often centers on research.

Undergraduate Philosophy Council: Students have opportunities to make presentations to the Undergraduate Philosophy Council, the Philosophy Department's undergraduate organization. Here they present their own ideas to other students and engage in lively discussion. The Council meets most Friday afternoons in the philosophy Department lounge.

Undergraduate Conferences and Journals: Students are also encouraged to submit their work for presentation at one of the undergraduate conferences in philosophy listed on this website or to one of the undergraduate journals of philosophy listed below.

Supervised Research: Students can learn to develop, refine, and present philosophical analyses and arguments through research-focused independent study opportunities that guide them in preparing a paper for conference or journal submission. Students are also encouraged to develop and pursue independent projects in the context of the senior honors thesis. The undergraduate honors thesis involves one to two semesters of guided research along with one to two semesters of guided thesis writing followed by an oral defense of the thesis.

Students can do work internships (in law, government, public interest NGOs, education, etc.) and the related academic work can involve research.

 A few recent honors theses in the Department of Philosophy are:

  • Jennifer Ware, 2011, "Modal Realism and the Multiverse"
  • Matthew Wampler-Doty, 2008, "Introducing a Logic of False Lemmas: Towards an Epistemic Logic of Grounded Belief"
  • Angela Stoutenburgh, 2008, "The Deficiency of Idealism in Justifying Capitalism: A Thought Experiment About an "Ideal Company" in a Highly Developed Economy"
  • Lewis Powell, 2005, "Considered Causation: An Attempt to Clarify the Reasons-responsiveness View"

Undergraduate Philosophy Journals