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The University of Alabama

UA Student Wins State Philosophy Contest — Twice

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Jonathan M. Cobb, a University of Alabama junior from Alabaster, has won the Alabama Philosophical Society Undergraduate Essay Contest for a second time.

Jonathan M. Cobb

Jonathan M. Cobb

His winning paper for the 2009 contest is “Time and Qualia,” which he wrote for an advanced metaphysics class in the spring. He also won the contest in 2008 for his paper “Natural Evil and the Butterfly Effect.”

Cobb is majoring in philosophy and is a student in the Blount Undergraduate Initiative in the College of Arts and Sciences.

“In my paper, I argue that the way that humans experience time is misleading,” said Cobb. “We experience time qualitatively. Qualitative experiences are generally misrepresentative of what’s really happening, so our experience of time is misrepresentative of what the structure of time actually is.”

Dr. H. Scott Hestevold, professor and chair of the department of philosophy, is pleased with Cobb’s accomplishment. “The department is delighted that Jonathan Cobb has won the Alabama Philosophical Society’s 2009 award for best student paper,” said Hestevold. “Though many UA students have won this award over the years, I believe that Mr. Cobb is the only student at any institution to have won this award twice.”

Cobb will present his paper at Orange Beach at the annual APS meeting Oct. 2-3.

“I’m thrilled,” said Cobb. “I actually had more doubt that I would win this year (though I had a better paper), but submitted my paper anyway. I’m looking forward to the conference and I’m very grateful for my professors, family and friends for being so supportive.”

The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is experiencing significant growth in both enrollment and academic quality. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state's economy, is in keeping with UA's vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the state's flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.