Independent Study

Philosophy seniors

Senior Independent Study is a unique requirement at Wooster and a special opportunity for you to develop intellectually and philosophically. Your senior thesis can be on any philosophical topic that interests you. Some students choose topics that examine an aspect of a central question in philosophy. Other students write on problems and ideas that arise from a specific philosopher of the past. Still others work in areas where philosophy intersects with other disciplines, such as mathematics, art, and literature.

Last year’s Senior IS titles included:

  • Insurrecting Purity: Creativity as Resistance in Somatic Ambiguity
  • Tying Truth's Shoes: The Value of a Realist Notion of Truth Within Democratic Discourse
  • Says Who? A Feminist Challenge of Moral and Epistemic Authority in Advocacy
  • Towards A Phenomenological Study of the American Criminal Courts
  • Ethics in Computing
  • America's Best Idea: Arguing for Bears Ears National Monument Through Leopold's Land Ethic
  • Rethinking Humans Through Genetic Enhancement: The Ethics of Choosing Children
  • Revisiting Love in the Modern Era: The Need for the Flourishing of Universal Love
  • The Lakota: On the Importance of Community and Selflessness
  • Moral Obligations: Towards a Just System of Immigration
  • A few Clumsy Lines: Ramifications of Philosophical Shifts in Neo-Confucian Philosophy to Ming Governance
  • Inviting Others In: How Oppression Affects the Self
  • Letters from Heaven
  • Beyond Bratwurst: Animal Ethics in Germany and the United States
  • Know Thyself: A Study of Being Human
  • "Dumb Brutes" or "Fellow-Critters": Toward a More Virtuous Characterization of Nonhuman Animals
  • Modal Notions and Semantics
  • Applying Gadamer: An Evaluation of Interpretations of the Confucian Analects by Different Schools Under the Light of Gadamerian Hermeneutics

The Senior Independent Study thesis you create is your own. Your thesis should be an example of your best work. Your advisor’s role is to help you shape your project and to challenge you to perform your best, but in the end, the thesis is your responsibility. It is your responsibility to know the deadlines and the requirements related to your project. The standard pattern in this department is for each student to meet weekly with his or her advisor for at least an hour of discussion. Each advisor should periodically inform each student whether he or she is making adequate progress toward completion of the thesis. In almost every case that progress will be measured by the amount and quality of writing produced. Throughout the year there are specific departmental deadlines which are designed to help you make effective progress in completing your thesis.