Frequently Asked Questions (2024 Webster Undergraduate Philosophy Conference)
Why? Because ideas come to everyone!
(Be sure to check out the Call for Papers and Proposals.)
Do I have to be a philosophy major?
Nope. Ideas come to everyone, and sharing ideas is what this conference is all about. Students who are not majors or minors but who enjoy philosophical thinking in related disciplines, e.g. History, Sociology, Anthropology, Art, Psychology, International Human Rights, Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Political Science, English, etc., are strongly encouraged to submit papers. Unsure about whether your work is philosophical? Feel free to reach out to: email@example.com (and we’ll encourage you to submit your work, lol).
Why should I submit something?
- It’s a great opportunity to share your ideas and get feedback in a supportive environment
- It’s an impressive accomplishment to list on your resumé or C.V.
- It looks great on graduate school, law school, or medical school applications
- It can help you become a better writer and public speaker
- It can help prepare you for talking to potential employers about your ideas
- Be part of a community with other student philosophers
- Free lunch
What’s expected in a philosophy paper?
This page has some helpful hints.
Your thesis should indicate your position, or what you plan to argue, not merely the general topic you plan to discuss.
Try to avoid asking a question in order to make a point. When you ask, for example, “Why could it not be the case that X?” you have not yet established that X is the case.
Throughout, or toward the end of your paper, consider, and then respond to, possible objections and alternatives to your argument.
For the sake of inclusivity, please use gender neutral language and situate yourself as an author. You are encouraged to use “I” in order to clarify what you believe and to convince your readers of your beliefs.
What’s expected in a non-paper submission?
Give us enough information to determine that it conveys ideas, will be accessible to the audience, can spark philosophical conversation.
Who will review my submission?
Submissions will be reviewed by undergraduate Webster University philosophy students.
What is a panel?
A panel presentation consists of a small group of people (typically 3-4) gathered to share a variety of perspectives on a topic. We will try to organize panels that allow the ideas of the contributing students to connect with one another whether as mutual support, antitheses, alternate perspectives, or interdisciplinary allies.
What is an individual presentation?
In an individual presentation, one speaker shares their topic and reasoning for about 20 minutes, followed by about 10 minutes of question and answer/discussion. We discourage literally reading aloud the paper that was submitted. (Even though that is common at professional philosophy conferences, it is painful for the audience.)
We aim to have a mix of panel and individual presentations at the in-person conference.
What is the conference setting like?
The conference aims to foster curiosity and to promote the exchange of ideas in a safe and supportive environment. We believe that ideas come to everyone!
Panels and presentations will be scheduled for the morning and afternoon. The “zine gallery,” if there are enough submissions, will probably be just before/during lunch.
The keynote will be after lunch, March 29, and will be given by Dr. Yolonda Wilson (Albert Gnaegi Center for Health Care Ethics and Department of Philosophy, St. Louis University).
See above for information on panels and individual presentations.
What is the dress code?
Generally, attendees dress like they do at school daily. Presenters typically dress up a little, but are by no means required to satisfy anyone else’s expectations.
What are the guidelines for submissions and how do I submit something?
To be guaranteed consideration, proposals should be submitted no later than Tuesday, February 20, 2024 using this form: https://webster.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_emLUmUM20AxDQWy
Papers should be double-spaced, 12-point font. Non-paper submissions should describe the work sufficiently for it to be understood and for the reviewers to be encouraged to include it in the conference day.
Papers can be on any philosophical topic and may have been submitted for a previous class assignment.
Submissions should be anonymous: the form will ask the applicant’s name and the title of the paper, but no names or identifying information should be included on the attached paper itself (please be sure your name is not listed in the header either).
Files should be uploaded in .pdf or.doc format (ideally).
Images from Conferences past:
Jess Holmes (then STLCC, now Webster) & Lonnie Helm (Webster, Class of 2022) 2022 Conference:
Jeremiah Wallace (Webster, Class of 2019), 2018 Conference:
2024 Keynote Speaker, Yolonda Wilson: