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Office of Undergraduate Research

Research Opportunities by Department

Undergraduate Research in the Department of Philosophy

The academic culture in Philosophy is centered about 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. Each year the Department of Philosophy conducts an undergraduate seminar. Students attending 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.

Students have an opportunity to make presentations to the the Undergraduate Philosophy Council, the Philosophy Department's undergraduate organization. Here they present their own ideas to other students and engage in lively discussion. In addition, there are at other institutions undergraduate conferences in philosophy and undergraduate journals of philosophy to which students have opportunities to contribute.

How to get started:

Students are 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:
  • Lewis Powell, 2005, "Considered Causation: An Attempt to Clarify the Reasons-responsiveness View"
  • 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"
Research Opportunities by Department—Main List