Annual Essay Spring Contest

The Department of Philosophy established the annual essay contest in 2011 to recognize exemplary writing by undergraduates.

Any UC Davis undergraduate is eligible to compete by submitting an essay written between April 2021 and April 2022 for any UC Davis philosophy course.

First Prize: $200    |    Second Prize: $75

Paper Format: Maximum 2,500 words; 12-point font, double spaced, and paginated.

Submissions: Submit PDF or Word Doc only; make sure your name does NOT appear on the essay. Email your essay to Jan Szaif at jmszaif@ucdavis.edu. In the email, indicate the course/term/year for which you wrote the paper (e.g. PHI 103 in Fall 2021).

The deadline for submissions is April 18, 2022.

Papers should be prepared for anonymous review (by removing the author's name and any other identifying markers). Submissions are read and evaluated by a two- or three-person panel of Department of Philosophy faculty members.

  • Past Winners
  • 2017

    First Prize: Jarom Longhurst, "Measuring the Wrong Bundle: A Response to the Argument from Negative Experimental Philosophy"

    Second Prize: Zachary Nemirovsky, "In Favor of Mathematical Models"


    1st place: Jasmine Gunkel, “Past-Cone-ism: Problems Determining What is Present”

    2nd place: Jarom Longhurst, "Does the Truth of Special Relativity Commit Us to the B-Theory of Time?"


    1st place: Jasmine Gunkel, "A Defense of the Adaptationist Approach to Female Sexuality"

    2nd place: Paul Johnson: "A Critique of the Kalam Cosmological Argument"



    1st place: Chelsie Liberty, "Realism, Austere Nominalism, and Transitivity of Exact Resemblance"

    2nd place: Charles Bishop, "The Problems of Paraphrasing: Some Sentences for the Consideration of the Austere Nominalist"



    1st place: Gordon Allen, "Dworkin and Riggs v. Palmer"

    2nd place: Philip Powers, "Hume and Kant: On the Origin of Moral Precepts"



    1st place: Tristan Lenaerts, "Populations: Mind Dependent or Perspective Dependent?"

    2nd place: Theo Galanakis, "Chomsky on Rule Following"



    1st place: Kristopher Baumgartner, "The Dualist Confusion"

    2nd place: Travis Kirk, "A Defense of the Possibility of Scientific Laws in Biology"