Australasian Association of Philosophy Announces Award Winners

The Australasian Association of Philosophy (AAP) has announced the winners of its 2017 Australasian Journal of Philosophy (AJP) Best Paper Award and 2018 Annette Baier Prize.

The 2017 AJP Best Paper Award, which goes to to the author of what’s judged to be the best paper published in AJP in a given year, was won by Jennifer M. Morton (CUNY) for her “Reasoning Under Scarcity.” Here’s the abstract of the paper:

Practical deliberation consists in thinking about what to do. Such deliberation is deemed rational when it conforms to certain normative requirements. What is often ignored is the role that an agent’s context can play in so-called ‘failures’ of rationality. In this paper, I use recent cognitive science research investigating the effects of resource-scarcity on decision-making and cognitive function to argue that context plays an important role in determining which norms should structure an agent’s deliberation. This evidence undermines the view that the norms of ‘ideal’ rationality are necessary and universal requirements on deliberation. They are a solution to the problems faced by cognitively limited agents in a context of moderate scarcity. In a context of severe scarcity, the problems faced by cognitively limited agents are different and require deliberation structured by different norms. Agents reason rationally when they use the norms best suited to their context and cognitive capacities.

The AAP’s Annette Baier Prize is awarded for “an outstanding philosophical paper or book chapter published by an Australasian woman during the previous calendar year.” The 2018 prize was won by Jennifer Windt (Monash University) for her article, “Predictive brains, dreaming selves, sleeping bodies: how the analysis of dream movement can inform a theory of self-and world-simulation in dreams,” which appeared in the journal, Synthese (vol. 195, issue 6).  Here’s the abstract of the paper:

In this paper, I discuss the relationship between bodily experiences in dreams and the sleeping, physical body. I question the popular view that dreaming is a naturally and frequently occurring real-world example of cranial envatment. This view states that dreams are functionally disembodied states: in a majority of dreams, phenomenal experience, including the phenomenology of embodied selfhood, unfolds completely independently of external and peripheral stimuli and outward movement. I advance an alternative and more empirically plausible view of dreams as weakly phenomenally-functionally embodied states. The view predicts that bodily experiences in dreams can be placed on a continuum with bodily illusions in wakefulness. It also acknowledges that there is a high degree of variation across dreams and different sleep stages in the degree of causal coupling between dream imagery, sensory input, and outward motor activity. Furthermore, I use the example of movement sensations in dreams and their relation to outward muscular activity to develop a predictive processing account. I propose that movement sensations in dreams are associated with a basic and developmentally early kind of bodily self-sampling. This account, which affords a central role to active inference, can then be broadened to explain other aspects of self- and world-simulation in dreams. Dreams are world-simulations centered on the self, and important aspects of both self- and world-simulation in dreams are closely linked to bodily self-sampling, including muscular activity, illusory own-body perception, and vestibular orienting in sleep. This is consistent with cognitive accounts of dream generation, in which long-term beliefs and expectations, as well as waking concerns and memories play an important role. What I add to this picture is an emphasis on the real-body basis of dream imagery. This offers a novel perspective on the formation of dream imagery and suggests new lines of research.

The AAP commended two runners-up for the Annette Baier Prize. They are Helen Ngo (Deakin University) for her “Simulating the Lived Experience of Racism and Islamophobia: On ‘Embodied Empathy’ and Political Tourism,” which appeared in the Australian Feminist Law Journal (vol. 43, issue 1), and Talia Morag (Deakin University) for her “The Tracking Dogma in the Philosophy of Emotion,” which appeared in Argumenta (issue 4).


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