Honors in Philosophy
Students who wish to undertake a more intensive and extensive program of study, including seminars and independent work, are invited to apply for the honors program during Winter Quarter of the junior year.
Please email the Student Services Officer (ksahgal [at] stanford.edu) or visit building 70, 71K. Please check the Stanford Bulletin (ExploreDegrees) for the most up-to-date requirements. Please see the Philosophy Undergraduate Honors Theses Collection for previous thesis titles and writers.
Intended Plan of Study
With their application, candidates should submit an intended plan of study for the remainder of the junior and the senior years. It should include at least 5 units of Senior Tutorial (PHIL 196 Tutorial, Senior Year) during Autumn and/or Winter quarter(s) of the senior year. Students who are applying to Bing Honors College may use the same application for the philosophy honors program. In the quarter preceding the tutorial, students should submit an essay proposal to the Philosophy Director of Undergraduate Studies and determine an advisor.
Honors Seminar (Junior Year)
Students applying for honors should enroll in PHIL 199 Seminar for Prospective Honors Students during the Spring Quarter of the junior year.
Bing Honors College
Bing Honors College is a three-week summer program prior to the start of the senior year. Honors students work independently and with other participants to research and shape their honors thesis under the guidance of a Philosophy faculty member and the support of a Philosophy graduate student teaching assistant. For more information, contact the Undergraduate Student Services Officer.
The Honors Thesis
The length of the honors essay may vary considerably depending on the problem and the approach; usually it falls somewhere between 7,500 and 12,500 words. This essay may use work in previous seminars and courses as a starting point, but it cannot be the same essay that has been used, or is being used, in some other class or seminar. It must be a substantially new and different piece of work reflecting work in the tutorials.
A completed draft of the essay is submitted to the adviser at the end of the Winter Quarter of the senior year. Any further revisions must be finished by the second week of May in Spring Quarter, when three copies of the essay are to be given to the Undergraduate Student Services Officer. The honors essay is graded by the advisor together with a second reader, chosen by the adviser in consultation with the student. The student also provides an oral defense of the thesis at a meeting with the advisor and second reader. The essay must receive a grade of 'A-' or better for the student to receive honors.
Admission is selective on the basis of demonstrated ability in Philosophy, including an average grade of at least 'A-' in a substantial number of Philosophy courses and progress towards satisfying the requirements of the major. Honors tutorials represent units in addition to the 60-unit requirement.
Philosophy Undergraduate Honors Theses Collection 1963-2020
Thesis: "Problems of Comparison in Choice Situations"
Thesis: "'I am now speaking, and you are now listening.' Wittgenstein, Hume, and hinge propositions"
Thesis: "Greatness, Classical and Modern"
Thesis: "Slur Reclamation as Illocutiounary Speech Act: Methods and Difficulties"
Thesis: "Irigaray’s Feminine Divine: An Anthropomorphic Divine "'For Us'"
Thesis: "Maximizing Human Talents via Self-Dissatisfaction: Elitism, Perfectionism, and Culture in Nietzsche’s Schopenhauer as Educator"
Thesis: "Human Foundations of Rational Knowledge: Infinity, History and Enlightenment in Kant and Husserl"
*Winner of the David M. Kennedy Honors Thesis Prize
Thesis: "Objectivity, Belief, and Epistemic Values: The Role of Background Beliefs in Cree Science"
Thesis: "Morality, Luck, and the Grounded Life"
Thesis: "Trust, Temptation, and Epistemic Self-Governance"
Thesis: "From Aliens to Alephs"
Thesis: "Across Times and Worlds: Thought Experiments and Personal Identity"
Thesis: "The Evolution of W.E.B. Du Bois’s Philosophy of Race"
Thesis: "Cognitive Values and the Problem of Theory Choice"
Thesis: "Quine’s “Two Dogmas of Empiricism” and a Defense of the Epistemic Significance of Analytic Statements"
Thesis: "Naturalism and Normativity: Themes from Robert Brandom’s 'Making it Explicit'"
Thesis: "The Information-Processing Theory of Aggression: A Case Study in Scientific Development"
Thesis: "The Normative Dimension of Action: A Constitutivist Reply to Skepticism about Practical Reason"
Thesis: "What’s Wrong with Child Labor? A Critique of Welfare Economics"
Thesis: "If We Are Doing Aesthetics: Ontolological Necessities in Performative Interpretations of Ravel’s Le Tombeau de Couperin"
Thesis: "The Stoic Citizen"
Thesis: "Presence, Pretense, and Pragmatics"
Thesis: "The Psychology of the Pyrrhonian Skeptic"
Daniel David Slate
Thesis: "The Working Mind: the Philosophy of Eric Hoffer"
Thesis: "The Success of the Fading and Dancing Arguments"
Thesis: "Nature and Reform in Montaigne"
Thesis: "A Critique of, and Response to, Michael Sandel’s 'Case Against Perfection'"
Thesis: "The Knowledge Principle"
Thesis: "What David Lewis Didn’t Know"
Thesis: "Myth of Multiple Realization"
Thesis: "Radical Interpretability and Parasitism: Justifying the Principle of Charity"
Thesis: "Richard Rufus on Species and Apprehension"
Thesis: "Quine and the Bilingual Mind"
Thesis: "Infinity, God, and Mathematical Rigor in Cauchy’s Calculus"
Thesis: "Body Right, Discontinuous Identity, and Moral Authority: A new defense of advance directives in dementia dases"
Elizabeth Valentine Phillips
Thesis: "Toward an Understanding of the Moral Status of Children"
Thesis: "A Collection of Three Papers"
Thesis: "Self-Achievement Condition on Eudaimonia: Relating Autonomous Action and Well-being"
Thesis: "Husserlian Theories of Indexicality"
Thesis: "What do you mean ‘we’? Expanding on Kaplan"
Thesis: "To Basics – On the Shortcomings of the Human Rights Framework and the Importance of Respect for Persons"
Thesis: "Can Past Deprivation Excuse Present Depravity?"
Thesis: "Event Segmentation in an Action-Organized Task"
Thesis: "Potential and the Limits of Applying Evolutionar: Accounts of the Origins of Morality to Ethics"
Thesis: "Punishment, Community, & Persons"
Thesis: "Metaphor, What is Said, and the Cultivation of Intimacies"
Thesis: "Distributive Justice, Disability, & Equality"
Thesis: "Against a Relativist Interpretation of Kuhn’s World Changes: An Exegetical Defense of Structure’s Chapter X"
Thesis: "What is This Fitness Thing? A Pluralistic Account of Biology’s Most Difficult Term"
Thesis: "Valuing Together: Christine Korsgaard and the creation on shared values"
Thesis: "Resonance: Reflections on Experience and Self-fashioning"
Thesis: "Keeping Our Expectations in Check: Clarifying the Dissolution of Hume’s Problem"
Thesis: "Teleology and Optimality in Adaptive Explanations of Cognition"
Thesis: "The Natural Choice: Making Parenting A Necessarily Chosen Obligation"
Thesis: "Computers, Creativity, Kuhn: Philosophy of Science and the Artistic Machine"
Thesis: "Humanity, Distributive Justice and International Morality"
Thesis: "Objectivity and the Growth of Scientific Knowledge"
Thesis: "From a Moral Foundation: A New Approach to the Problem of Personal Identity"
Joyce M. Ho
Thesis: "Matters of Life and Death: A Comparative Study of Contemporary Chinese and Western Views on Euthanasia"
Thesis: "Causation Without Closure: A Methodological Strategy for Solving the Problem of Mental Causation"
Thesis: "The Construction of a Scientific Discipline: Ernst Mayr, George Gaylord Simpson, and the Society for the Study of Evolution"
Thesis: "The Place of Humans in the World: A Zhuangzian System of Environmental Ethics"
Thomas H. Arnold
Thesis: "Berkeley, Mind, and Free Will"
McPherson S. Beall
Thesis: "The Role of Consciousness in Personal Identity: A Refutation of Non-Reductionism"
Thesis: "Metaphysics, Nihilism, and Difference: Heidegger and Nietzche"
Thesis: "Action in Charles Peirce’s Philosophy of Mathematics"
Tina M. Villalobos
Thesis: "Darwin and Paley: A Dialectical Relationship Between Natural Theology and Evolutionary Theories of Morality"
Thesis: "The Role of the Environment in Causing Organic Variation: An Examination of Charles Darwin’s Views on Inheritance and Variation"
Thesis: "Form and Function in Modern Movement Architecture"
Thesis: "T.S. Kuhn and Genetics Textbooks"
Stephen A. Brada
Thesis: "A Cartesian Medical Ethic: The Final Degree of Wisdom Arising from Mind-Body Dualism"
C.F. Jr. Delaney
Thesis: "Remarks on Intentionality"
Thesis: "Custom and Sympathy in Hume’s Political Psychology"
Thesis: "She Was Ignored: Ida Noddack and the Discovery of Nuclear Fission"
Thesis: "Understanding Mind and Brain: A Wittgensteinian Perspective on Paul and Patricia Churchlands’ Eliminative Materialism"
Thesis: "Explaining Change and Natural Change in Aristotle"
Hugh Rhys Bethell
Thesis: "Right Versions of an Unreal World: Truth in an Irrealist Context"
Steven B. Fram
Thesis: An Examination of Moral Consideration.
Thesis: "Strict Laws and the Mental: A Critique of Donald Davidson’s Philosophy of Mind"
Thesis: "Towards and Ideal Deontology?: Stripping Down the Subject in Kant and Rawls"
Thesis: "Kant on the Morality of Lying"
David M. Robb
Thesis: "Mental Images and Pictures: An Inquiry into Representational Format"
Thesis: "Philosophy in Primary and Secondary Education"
Kevin S. Woodhouse
Thesis: "Persons and Concern"
Thesis: "Naturalism in Defense of Indeterminacy"
Thesis: "Kant’s Free Play of the Faulties in Aesthetic Experience: Key to a Universal Ethic?"
Samuel K. Aronson
Thesis: "Kierkegaard and Hegel on Man and God"
Thesis: "Chomsky and Searle: Towards a Theory of Language"
Thesis: "Weakness of Will"
Jenny E. Ross
Thesis: "The Concept of Competence to Consent to or Refuse Medical Treatment"
Thesis: "On Self-Deception: A Conceptual Quest"
Thesis: "Aristotelian Biology and Modern Biological Theory: A Contrast and Comparison of Three Concepts"
Thesis: "Nietzsche’s Theory of Truth"
James R. Soloman
Thesis: "Natural Law and Natural Man in the Thought of Thomas Aquinas"