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Essay Contest

All UC Davis students who have written a paper in a UC Davis philosophy class are eligible to compete for a $150 Amazon gift card prize in the Undergraduate Essay Contest. The deadline for submissions is April 16, 2021.

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

hand writing on paper

Essay content submissions are due on a specified date each spring. Papers that have been written on any topic by a UC Davis student for any philosophy class at UC Davis between the previous spring and the most recent winter quarter are eligible.

First Prize $150  |  Second Prize $50

Papers should be approximately 1,500 to 2,500 words long (consisting of five to seven pages, in standard 12-point font), double spaced and paginated. Entries must be in electronic form (as PDF files) and submitted to Jan Szaif at , the faculty advisor for the Department of Philosophy. The deadline for submissions is April 16, 2021.

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


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"