Department of Philosophy

St. Cloud State Philosophy students participate in a class outside on a beautiful spring day.

Student Opportunities

Philosophy Essay Contest

As a Philosophy student, you will have the opportunity to participate in the annual essay contest, a rich tradition in the department dating back to 1995. This competition will allow you to highlight your work and be recognized among your peers.

2021 Winners

1st: Anika Korpi, "The Moral Permissibility of Genetic Engineering."

2020 Winners

1st: James Serkland, "An Argument for Open Borders"

2nd: Joey Streeter, "Does the Right to a Flourishing Life Justify a Right to Immigrate?"

2018 Winners

1st: Gavallan Christensen, "Material Constitution: Temporal Parts"

2nd: Caleb Mikenas, "AI and Philosophical Inquiry"

Past Essay Winners


1st: Ben Bourgoin, "Ontological Commitment via Truthmaking"
2nd (tie): Kali Berg, "The Value of Cooking;" Johnathan Echolds, "Other Systems and the Chinese Room Argument"


1st: Kjell Fostervold, "Personhood Essentialism"
2nd: Patrick Mefford, "Against William Lycan's Metaphilosophy"


1st: Brandon Erickson, "Critiquing the Modal Argument Against Materialism"
2nd: Kjell Fostervold, "Liberalism and Accommodating Communitarianism"


1st: Ethan Peterson, "An Analysis of Williamson's Mr. Magoo Scenario"
2nd: Patrick Mefford, "Grounding Modal Truths"


1st: Benjamin Martin, "Presentism and the Question of Common Sense"
2nd: Darryl Sebastian, "A Defense of the Animalism Theory of Persons"


1st: Nate Bemis, "Against Theistic Activism"
2nd: Nicole Peck, "Human Persons: Body, Mind and Spirit"


1st (tie): Nicole Peck, "Freedom and Semi-Determinism;" Matt Borgert, "The Problems With a Principle of Rectification"


1st: David Coss, "Dubious Axioms of Epistemic Logic"


1st: Jordan Busse, "What we Owe to Ourselves"
2nd: David Coss, "Pragmatic Rationality Within the Prisoner's Dilemma"
Special topic: Rebekah Goering Mitsein, "Hate on Campus"


1st: Jordan Busse, "Harm and Apology"
2nd (tie): David Coss, "A Critique of Nicholas Rescher's Theory of Paradox Resolution;” Rick Ganci "Frankfurt Examples: Responsibility and Alternative Possibilities"


1st: David Coss, "Prior and the Liar"
2nd (tie): Jordan Busse, "On the Question of Infinite Divisibility;” Tanya Hall, "The End of Science"


1st: Chad Kainz, "How We Distinguish Art from Non-Art. Who Decides"
2nd: Stephanie Burnes, "An Attempted Solution to the Problem of the Apparent Motion of Time"
3rd: Sarah Smith, "Can Aristotle Work Objectivist Magic?"


1st: Mary Kay Matzen, "Thomas Kuhn Irrationalist: Does the Label Fit?"
2nd (tie): Laura Holt, "Provisional Thoughts on Epistemology: Room for a Relativist Fear?;” Miranda Dwyer, "Dissecting Dissection: The Harms Involved in Dissection"


1st: Sean Dolan, "Donnellan, Kripke and Definite Descriptions"


1st (tie): Alyson Huff, "Practical Projectivism;” Scott Bushee, "Objectivity in Science"


1st (tie): Michael Flinck, "I Will. Therefore I Believe;” Michael Paggen, "Objectivity and the Evolution of Science"


1st: Miranda Dwyer, "The Word of God?"
2nd: Christy Eichenberger, "Despite Augustine, Evil Does Exist"


1st: Guy Rice, "Alternate Worlds, Virtual Reality and Demonology"


1st: Chad Litterst, "Concealed Computations and Confused Consciousness"


1st: Julie Feia, "Unity Within Locke's Complex Ideas"


1st: Julie Feia, "Aristotle's Essence"
2nd (tie): Dylan Kiewel, "Critique of Utilitarianism;” Jonathan Krause, "The Movement Within"


1st: Michelle Iten
2nd (tie): Jonathan Krause; Darwin Pagnac