Philosophy and Religious Studies

All Majors & Minors

Lauren Schaeffer

Class Year

Class of 2009

Impact of Ursinus

Three things I really liked about Ursinus:

Living near Philadelphia is great.  Students get to see important philosophers from all over the country give talks at Penn and other area schools.  Professors sometimes even reschedule class around talks and buy us delicious food afterwards. It’s always fun to read papers by people we’ve seen in person, whether they sparked our interest in some new area of philosophy,  were horrifyingly rude in the Q&A, or immediately put us to sleep.

There’s also a remarkable sense of community among students.  One time a small group of us wanted to learn about metaethics but no one was teaching it.   We decided to come up with a syllabus and teach ourselves.  How we sympathized with our poor professors after carefully selecting readings, making handouts, and photocopying them for all our friends, only to come to class and discover that no one did the reading.  After having their turn at this delightful experience, everyone did the reading.

One of the best opportunities at Ursinus is doing summer research. I started out at Ursinus with an interest in animal ethics. Eventually I began to wonder why we are right to think about morality in terms of principles.  After all, we’re spending a whole lot of time arguing about a principled defense of respect for animal lives—morality better have true and knowable principles!  As a summer fellow, I got to familiarize myself with the literature on this area and write a conference paper.  My advisor talked with me for a couple hours almost every day about whatever questions I was having, and I got careful comments on my work faster than I could write.

What am I doing now?

I’m writing a dissertation prospectus on the nature of oppression for my PhD at UCLA