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During graduation, Undergraduate Ethics students recognized for outstanding work

Undergrad Ethics Students
Jun 18 2013
Ethics in Society Staff

A handful of Undergraduate Honors Program in Ethics in Society students were recognized with undergraduate prizes during the 2012-2013 graduation celebration over the weekend.

Program graduate Albert Pak won the Philosophy Department’s Mothershead Prize for Outstanding Work in Moral and/or Political Philosophy. The Suppes Award for Excellence in Philosophy went to fellow program graduate Jessica Asperger.

Additionally, awards for outstanding theses went to Program in Ethics in Society graduates Margaret Hayden and Cameron Smith.

\Margaret Hayden was awarded the Firestone Medal for her thesis "Cultural and Scientific Approaches to Mental Illness and Personhood: Exploring Issues of Responsibility and Autonomy."

"(Hayden) went above and beyond in every aspect of her study at the Ethics Center and in the thesis-writing process,” said Ethics in Society postdoc Mark Budolfson, who advised Hayden on her thesis. “I'm very grateful I had the opportunity to work with her and learn so much from talking with her about her research."

The Firestone Medal is awarded to seniors in recognition of excellence in undergraduate research. Departments in the School of Humanities and Sciences nominate students who have completed outstanding honors projects in the social, physical, and natural sciences.

“It is brilliant, clear, concise, well-argued, and ranges over an unusual breadth of material to make a ethically sophisticated but passionately felt argument,” Anthropology Professor Tanya Luhrmann wrote in her nomination letter. 

Cameron Smith was recognized with the McCoy Family Center for Ethics in Society’s thesis prize for his thesis "Why We Need to Satisfy Need." Every year, the Program awards The Lyle and Olive Cook prize for the best Ethics in Society honors thesis. This award acknowledges the most remarkable thesis which displays the interdisciplinary scholarship encouraged by the Program.

Smith’s thesis made a compelling case for a guaranteed social minimum, according to thesis postdoc advisor Hugh Lazenby. “A key element of the thesis was defending a social minimum against libertarian objections and, in particular, the objections of Robert Nozick,” said Lazenby. “While Nozick has been a mainstay on political philosophy reading lists for over 40 years, (Smith) engaged with an under explored part of Nozick's theory to providing an original and plausible argument committing Nozick to redistributive taxation. Creating original research area is an incredibly achievement.”

View photos from the Program's graduation party.