Student & Faculty Work
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:
- Professor Kareem Khalifa worked with Brendan Owens ’08 and David Green ’08 to develop a History and Philosophy of Science website.
- Professor John Spackman worked with Nathaniel Carter '11 on "Research on the Conceptualization of Experience/Construction of Website for PHIL 0352:Philosophy of Mind"
David Puyandayev ’14 took part in a summer seminar on "Jewish Thought and Enduring Human Questions" with a stipend from the Tikvah Project on Jewish Thought at Princeton University. David's favorite discussions during the seminar involved Baruch Spinoza. After graduation, David is eager to apply the analytical and problem-solving skills he learned as a PHIL major while working at a consulting firm in California.
Julian Macrone ‘14 participated in the University of Colorado Boulder's Philosophy Summer Seminar in 2013 on the topic of Justice. The seminar, designed for undergraduates considering advanced study in philosophy, offers students an intensive three-week experience in reading and writing philosophy, as well as a look into the life of the contemporary professional philosopher. After graduation, Julian will work on solar energy in New York; then he plans to apply to graduate schools in Philosophy.
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!
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.