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Tsanoff Prizes

Answers to FAQs

  • To submit a paper, give a copy to the department administrator with the appropriate notation, e.g., Tsanoff prize.
  • Students may submit two papers.


The Tsanoff Prizes are awarded for the best essays by undergraduates written for philosophy department courses regardless of subject. The prizes honor Radoslav Tsanoff, the first member of the philosophy department at Rice from its beginning, and its chair for many years. The prizes are funded by contributions by his former students.


The prizes are in the form of tuition remission and thus the competition is only open to students who will be enrolled in the subsequent year.  The total sum of the prizes is $4000. Papers may be nominated either by faculty or by students. The deadline for 2015-6 will be May 27, 2016. We strongly encourage faculty and students to submit fall papers at the end of the fall semester.

Previous winners in recent years have been:


Jeff Horowitz - "Imperialism and the Persistence of Ideology through Discourse Ethics"

Samuel Saldinger - "Unrestricted Desire Fulfillment Theory"


Anakha Ajayan - "Beyond the Surface"

Kaylen Strench - "A Hybrid Solution to the Problem of Causality"


First Prize

Alec M. Weiss - "Radial Categories: Improving the Linguistic Defense of Contextualism"

Second Prize

Matthew Delhey - "Two Husserlian Objections to Quine's Naturalized Epistemology"

Cody A. Tapscott - "The Insufficiency of Naturalized Epistemology for Describing Kowledge"


Evan Austin - "Consequentialism, Indirection and the Possibility of Overcoming Alienation"

Sally Hodges-Copple - "Obligations to Future Generations"


First Prize (Upper Division)

Ryan Artecona - "Trans-Attribute Modes in Spinoza"

Blaine Rister - "Spinoza's Identity of Modes and Related Topics"

First Prize (Lower Division)

Adam J. McMullen - "Scientific Realism: Are Our Theories True?"


First Prize (Upper Division)

Carolyn Branecky - "Coherentism as a Viable Alternative to Foundationalism"

Neil J. Vanlandingham - "The Assymetrical Condition of Symmetrical Reality"

First Prize (Lower Division)

Thomas Hancock - "Scientific Realism"

First Prize (Upper Division)
Suzie Kim - "Taylor and Rorty on the Problem of Difference-Blind Liberalism"

First Prize (Lower Division)
Erin Dahlstrom - "Critical Paper: Leibniz"
Victor Leyva - "Justifying Self-Defense Against Innocent Aggressors"

 First Prize (Upper Division)
 Ian Jones - "On Promises, Trust, and Risk"

 First Prize (Lower Division)
 David James - "Discourse Ethics as Instrumental Reason"

First Prize (Upper Division)

Alexander Perrone - "Quine's Translation"
Mimi Willard - "An Analysis of Monaghan and Corcos' 'The Real Objective of Mendel's Paper"

First Prize (Lower Division)
Noemie Levy - "Place, Putnam and Block on Chauvinism and Liberalism"

First Prize (Upper Division)
Derek Green - "A Transcendental Revival"

First Prize, (Lower Division)
Alyssa Ibarra - "Out of Sight, Out of Mind"
Christopher Lam - "Nonphysical Properties"

First Prize, (Upper Division)

Rex Hubbard - "A Rejoinder to Unger's Arguments Against Reasonable Belief"

Second Prize, (Upper Division)
Ashley Allen - "Partiality, Friendship, and Traditional Moral Theories"

First Prize, (Lower Division)
Akshay Dayal - "An Assessment of Retribution"

First Prize, (Upper Divison)
Elizabeth Pesses - "An Objective Sort of Sortal: Freeing Sortals From the Human Mind:

First Prize, (Lower Division)
Ashley Allen - "An non-Consequentialist Argument for Euthanasia"
Haley Richardson - "Turning Theory into Practice: Our Obligation to Save the Starving"

First Prize, (Upper Division)
Caitlin Rosenthal - "Communicable Pleasure or Pleasant Company? Unlocking the "Key" to the Critique of Judgment"

Second Prize, (Upper Division)
Rachel Trube - "Roger W. Sperry: One Brain, Two Minds, Three Paradigms"

First Prize, (Lower Division)
Matthew Harrigan - "Concerning Homosexuals' Right to Legally Recognized, Same-Sex Marriages"
Elizabeth Tanner - "Defending the Morality of Homosexuality"

First Prize (Upper Division)

Malcolm McCollum - "Kant's Project of Synthetic A Priori Judgments"
Patricia Nason - "Arthritic Thinking"

Second Prize (Upper Division)
Jonathan Shepard - "Causality, Relativity, and Quantum Mechanics"

First Prize (Upper Division)
Bahram Razani - "An Alternative to the Corruption Argument in Discussions of Commoditization"

Second Prize (Upper Division)
Ben Riegel - "Artifact Terms and Reference"

First Prize (Lower Division)
Meredith Jenkins - "The Existence and Relevance of the State of Nature"

First Prize (Upper Division)

Andrew Courtwright - "Peter van Inwagen's Material Beings: Perspectives on Life"

First Prize (Lower Division)
Benjamin Ratner - "Right to Future Supersedes Use Right: A Case for The Rights of the Unborn"

First Prize (Upper Division)

Philip Mayor - "Autonomy and Equivocation: Proglems for Thomas Hill"

Second Prize (Upper Division)
Daniel J. Brasier - "Higher-Order Thoughts and Their Contents"

First Prize (Lower Division)
Andrew Courtwright - "Social Snobbery and Moral Luck"

Konstantin Kolenda Fellowship

The Konstantin Kolenda Fellowship is awarded each year to a philosophy major who will be a senior and who has shown outstanding promise in philosophy, as evidenced by academic performance, by enthusiasm for philosophy, and by breadth of interests. The recipient is selected by a committee of philosophy department faculty, and the award - which varies in value according to Endowment yield - is credited to the student's account in Student Financial Services.

The Fellowship was established in 1998 in honor of Professor Konstantin Kolenda by his wife, Dr. Pauline Kolenda. Konstantin Kolenda was a longtime member of the Rice department of philosophy and his many books are notable for their humane wisdom, wide field of vision, wit, and accessibility.

Previous Kolenda Fellows:

2015-2016 - Kaylen Strench

2014-2015 - Allyson Arias

2013-2014 - Brian Baran 

2013-2014 Faith Shapiro

2012-2013 Carolyn Branecky

2011-2012 Suzie Kim
2010-2011  Eric Reinelt
2009-2010  Heaven Chee
2008-2009 James Ireland
2007-2008 Ashley Allen
2006-2007 Carl Rex Hubbard II
2005-2006 Bradley Olsen
2004-2005 Malcolm McCollum
2003-2004 Ben Ratner
2002-2003 Phil Mayor
2001-2002 Brad Lega

James Street Fulton Prize for Excellence in Philosophy

The James Street Fulton Prize for Excellence in Philosophy is given annually to the graduating senior whose overall record demonstrates the highest levels of achievement and motivation in the field of philosophy. The Prize was established in 2001 by the department of philosophy to honor James Street Fulton, one of the founding members of the department and longtime Master of Will Rice College. Professor Fulton's work covered many fields in philosophy - from phenomenology and existentialism to aesthetics, philosophy of science, and philosophy of language. The prize consists of $250 and a book.

Previous Fulton Prize Recipients:

2014-2015- Luke Riel, Saira Weinzimmer

2013-2014 - Julika Kaplan

2012-2013 Carolyn Branecky

2011-2012 Suzie Kim
2010-2011 Casey O'Grady
2009-2010 Arturo Munoz
2008-2009 James Ireland
2007-2008 Ashley Allen, Derek Green
2006-2007 Carl Rex Hubbard II, Elizabeth Pesses
2005-2006 Robert Morse
2004-2005 Malcolm McCollum
2003-2004 Ben Ratner
2002-2003 Phil Mayor