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Will S

- Research Program Mentor

PhD candidate at University of Wisconsin - Madison


Ethics, Political Philosophy, History of Philosophy, Interdisciplinary Work with Philosophy and the social sciences, Writing for the Humanities, philosophical ideas in film and literature


Hello! My name is Will, and I am an a PhD candidate in philosophy the University of Wisconsin at Madison. I graduated from William and Mary with highest honors in philosophy, where I completed a senior thesis on the ethics of group and individual rights. I then completed an MA in philosophy at Brandeis, where I wrote an MA thesis on democracy. When I am not reading philosophy or related nonfiction, I love to watch movies and exercise through grappling sports like wrestling and jiu jitsu. My research is primarily thinking about political philosophy, ethics, the history of philosophy. In political philosophy, I have explored debates about democracy, the idea of justice, the nature and role of rights in a society, the concept of power and its effect of people, the philosophical sources of disagreement in politics, and the history of political ideas. In the history of philosophy, I have explored the idea of skepticism about knowledge and various philosophical attempts to resolve skepticism.

Project ideas

Project ideas are meant to help inspire student thinking about their own project. Students are in the driver seat of their research and are free to use any or none of the ideas shared by their mentors.

Ethical Evaluation of Current Events or Political Topics

What are the ethics of Abortion? Do rich countries have moral obligations to help poorer countries? What should the top marginal tax rate of a country be? These are all important questions for any of us to ask, and yet are very difficult to answer. One reason is that they all involve important philosophical ideas and assumptions that can be difficult to recognize and understand. This is where I can be of assistance. I have studied each of these questions--and many others--from a philosophical perspective and can help you understand the philosophical issues that inform issues in the world. Such a project could deeply analyze one topic, or offer a survey of a few. We will consider opposing beliefs, the merits and failings of them, and culminate this thinking with writing a paper that both promotes your belief and defends it from the opposing view. You'll improve your critical thinking, writing, and understanding of politics in one project.

How to Write an Argument.

Throughout our lives, we encounter arguments. They are designed to provide reasons for us to come to conclusions about the world, and are necessary to convince anyone of anything. For that reason, they are integral to professional and academic success. However, arguments are often difficult to articulate, can be complex and therefore difficult to understand. The goal of this project is to make you better at making arguments in your papers. We'll discuss the logical structure of arguments, common fallacies, examples of strong arguments, and examples of bad arguments. We will finish the project by writing a paper on a topic of your choice that implements the qualities of good argumentation that we have learned.

Theories of Justice

The belief that an action or institution is just or unjust plays a foundational role in how we think about and evaluate institutions. However, many people throughout history have disagreed not just about the specific nature of justice, but also about what justice itself is. This course would survey some of the most influential views about what justice demands and what justice is, looking at thinkers like Plato, Confucius, Hobbes, and Rawls to better understand the different ways we can think about justice.

Teaching experience

In addition to now four years mentoring students at Polygence, I acted as a teaching assistant to courses during my Master's in philosophy at Brandeis. I assisted with teaching in four classes: Neuroscience and Ethics, Philosophy of Law, Intro to Philosophy, and Intro to Political Philosophy.


Work experience

Hudson Institute (2019 - 2020)
Research Assistant
Writing Center at Brandeis (2022 - 2023)
Writing Center Consultant


College of William & Mary
BA Bachelor of Arts (2019)
Brandeis University
MA Master of Arts (2023)
University of Wisconsin - Madison
PhD Doctor of Philosophy candidate
Political Philosophy, Ethics, History of Philosophy

Completed Projects

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