Student & Faculty Work

Prof. Kareem Khalifa and Michael Gadomski (Class of 2014.5) have just had their paper, "Understanding as Explanatory Knowledge: The Case of Bjorken Scaling," accepted for publication at Studies in History and Philosophy of Science. The paper develops the idea that scientific understanding is a species of explanatory knowledge, and uses this this idea to explain an interesting episode in the recent history of high energy physics. Middlebury's Undergraduate Collaborative Research Fund supported their collaboration. Please congratulate Michael for the rare feat of publishing in a professional philosophy journal as an undergraduate!

Philosophy majors have several types of opportunities to work together with professors on research projects.

First, eligible seniors may write a two-term thesis on a topic that they develop on their own. Seniors pursue this topic in depth, work closely with their advisors, and do library research. By writing the senior thesis and giving an oral defense of it, seniors may earn Honors in Philosophy. [list of thesis titles here]

Second, majors may do independent readings (PHIL 0500 projects) with a faculty supervisor, such as the following examples:

  • Advanced Logic, K. Khalifa
  • On the Intersection of Law and Morality, S. Viner
  • Uncertain Inference, K. Khalifa
  • Explanationism and Material Implication, K. Khalifa
  • Nietzsche and the Pre-Socratic Philosophers, M. Woodruff

Third, majors may work jointly with a professor on a collaborative research project, using grants such as the Undergraduate Collaborative Research Fund, faculty members have the opportunity to work closely with students on common research projects. Examples include:


Taylor Smith '12, Josh Taylor '12 & Jacob Udell '12 all presented research from their senior honors theses at the annual Spring Symposium, April 2012.


For information about faculty research, click here.