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Brand Blanshard Prize

The Brand Blanshard Prize honors Brand Blanshard, professor of philosophy at Swarthmore from 1925 to 1945, and was established by David H. Scull ’36.

The prize of $150 is awarded annually to the student who, in the judgment of members of the Philosophy Department, submits the best essay on any philosophical topic.  All students are eligible to compete.

For Spring 2024, the deadline for submission of papers is Thursday, April 25, 2024.  Papers must be typewritten and should not exceed 4,000 words.  Revised term papers, senior course study papers and senior honors study papers are acceptable.  Students may submit only 1 paper.

Please prepare your paper to be read anonymously, meaning the author’s name should not appear anywhere on the paper: rather, the author should include this cover sheet and put the title of the paper (without the author's name) in the header of each page of the essay.

You may submit a  hard copy via campus mail or a digital copy of papers via email  - addressed to Donna Mucha, Administrative Assistant, Philosophy Department.  Questions can be addressed to

Previous Winners



Linked essays are available with Swarthmore.EDU log in only

2023 Megan Wu '23 Awakening to the Good:  Akrasia and Moral Transformation
2022 Sagar Rao '22 Objective Modal Facts in Scientific Realism and Anti-Realism
2021 Sagar Rao '22 Dignãga on Percepts and Causal Accounts of Perception
2021 Megan Wu '23 In Defense of Platonic Essentialism About Numbers
2020 Henry Wilson '21 What Are Levels in Metaphysics?
2019 Zhicheng (John) Fan '19 Plato on Eudaimonia and Other-Concern in the Republic
2019 Alexander Jin '19 He Made Us All Responsible:  The Me Too Movement and Liberal Commitments in Punishment
2018 Laura Geary '18 Objectification and Kantian Sexual Morality
2017 Joseph Millman '17 Stoic Compatibilism and Causation
2016 Gregory Brown '16 Aristotelian Categoricals and the Philosophy of Science
2015 Gregory Brown '16 An Objection to Parfit's Psychological Criterion
2015 John Proios '15 The Philosopher's Choice:  The Prudential Goodness of Compulsion in Plato's Republic
2014 Joshua Chang '15 The Euthyphro Dilemma and Its Relationship to God
2013 Quitterie Gounot '13  Piecing the Self Together:  Towards an Agency-Centered Theory of Normative Ethics   
2013 Mary Wiltshire-Gordon '13 In Defense of Radical Contextualism