Student Research

Student Research

Health Care Ethics MA students Louise Scharff, Andrew Givens, and Ellen Finley pose with faculty and field supervisors after presenting their internship research with the Metro Public Health Department.

To many, the word “research” conjures up white lab coats and solar-powered cars, but in Philosophy that term generally covers two kinds of activity: in the library, researchers build on the best ideas they can find and develop new theoretical knowledge and interpretative understandings; and in the community, applied philosophical researchers work with firms and nonprofit agencies to enhance their work with the frameworks of philosophical ethics, philosophy of mind, social theory, and so on.

In recent years Philosophy students have increased their involvement in research both in the library and in the community. In line with the applied dimension of our Health Care Ethics (HCE) MA degree, our graduating students have completed semester-long internships at Louisville Metro Public Health Department. Their projects have tackled some of the most pressing and timely issues in our community at the intersection of Health Care Ethics and Public Health. This past year, four members of the MA class of 2023 completed these internships:

  • Natalie Evanow, “How Healthcare Ethics Informs Pediatric Hospital Social Work”
  • Ellen Findley, “Best Practices to Gauge Stakeholder Capacity for Center for Health Equity”
  • Andrew Rich, “Addressing Hypertensive Disorders of Pregnancy as a Parental/Child Health Measure”
  • Louise Scharff, “Assessment of Substance Use Stigma in Jefferson County”

Among undergrads, Ryan Apperson and Omar Arar completed honors theses and Collin Preston wrote an Honors seminar paper responding to Amartya Sen’s Capability Approach to Human Development. This summer, Andrew Heggie is conducting research under the mentorship of Dr. Asaf Angermann.

And finally, the students in our undergraduate capstone seminar completed research posters and hosted a conference called “Exhuming Adam Smith” (a pun on bringing Smith out of the shadow of his fellow Scottish philosopher David Hume). Hot topics included “Adam Smith on the Environment,” “The Love to Domineer,” and “Smith and the ‘Poor Man’s Son’: An Examination of Ambition and Consumption in Smith.” Several presentations also discussed the work of Smith’s French translator and critic Sophie de Grouchy.