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  • Writer's pictureWendy-Marie Marie

Cool & Unique Dissertation Topic #1 - Unicorns

The search for my vampires begins by exploring other crazy topics already in existence, and there seems to be a plethora of them floating around the internet.

First topic: Unicorns.

Photo by Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post via Getty Images

According to Online PhD Programs in their "30 of the Most Bizarre Research Paper Topics of All Time," Rachael Patterson, undergraduate of philosophy at King's College London, wrote a dissertation on the theoretical aspects of the existence of unicorns entitled, "The Possibility of Unicorns: Kripke v Dummett.”

It seems previous philosophers and logicians had already approached the topic, but Patterson was looking to confirm their research. By exploring the theories British philosopher Michael Dummett and American logician and philosopher Saul Kripke, Patterson managed to complete her dissertation, concluding, "There is a chance that we are mistaken: there may be unicorns. Furthermore, we can consider a world different to our own in some way, in which unicorns do exist. They are not a biological or metaphysical impossibility in this sense, and the images and descriptions we currently affix to the term 'unicorn' help us to imagine the possibility of such creatures existing in a different possible world. Therefore, there might be unicorns" (

Lee Walters of the University of Southhampton wrote an article entitled, "The Possibility of Unicorns and Modal Logic," in which he analyzes the original argument put forth by Michael Dummett in 1993. Waters states that Dummet's original claim is as follows: "In world u, any animal, to be a unicorn, must have the same anatomical structure as the unicorns in u, and hence, in particular, must belong to the order Artiodactyla. . . . u is a world in which it holds good that unicorns are necessarily of the order Artiodactyla (Dummett 1993a: 346)." (Waters, 296). Walters claims "that even if we grant that there could have been unicorns, Dummett’s argument fails" (Walters, 296).

My point here is... UNICORNS ARE A LEGITIMATE DISSERTATION SUBJECT! Unicorns! The potential existence of these magical, mystical beasts is actual fodder for academic contemplation. The thought makes me burst with joy.

Unicorns, whod've thought?


Walters, Lee. “The Possibility of Unicorns and Modal Logic.” Analytic Philosophy, vol. 55, no. 3, Sept. 2014, pp. 295–305. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1111/phib.12045.

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