APA Announces Multiple Awards


The American Philosophical Association (APA) has announced the winners of 15 prizes and honors, as well as the creation of a new prize.

The prizes and their winners are:

From the selection committee: The P4C/Aggie School of Athens Philosophy Summer Camp for Teens exhibits excellence and innovation worthy of the prize. The program organizes undergraduate students to run a philosophy camp for high school students. What is especially impressive about this program is that it extends beyond the summer camp to year-round projects that involve college students engaging high school students in philosophical conversation. While giving college students hands-on experience mentoring and engaging high school students in philosophy, the program also gives high school students a genuine voice in the organization of the camp and the year-long program. The program offers a model to others looking to develop philosophy for children programs that can serve to both strengthen undergraduate engagement in philosophy and create enthusiasm for philosophy among high school students. The program has also been successful in engaging the community and highlighting the importance of philosophy in the development of children. 

From the selection committeeNguyen’s article offers a remarkably original and wide-ranging reflection on the status of games as art. But importantly, he also mines the aesthetic experiences provided through the artistic medium of games as a source of insight into the nature of human agency. It is precisely in part the apparent artificiality and arbitrariness of games, Nguyen argues, which make them “a valuable tool for human self-development.”

From the selection committeeJeffrey W. Howard’s “Dangerous Speech” offers a strong argument for the following claims, among others: that the right to free speech does not protect speech that incites the incontrovertible violation of others’ rights, that the U.S. Supreme Court’s Brandenburg test (according to which speech is protected by the First Amendment so long as it is not directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is not likely to produce such action) is problematic, but that considerations of wide proportionality might indeed speak against the suppression of dangerous speech. The committee found this article illuminating and original, in a way that really advances an important and central debate in the philosophy of law.

  • 2021 Dewey Lectures
    “Three annual lectures, one at each divisional meeting of the APA (Eastern, Central, and Pacific), given by a prominent and senior (typically retired) philosopher associated with that Division, who is invited to reflect broadly and in an autobiographical spirit on philosophy in America as seen from the perspective of a personal intellectual journey.” (Lecture and $1000.)

From the selection committeeThe APA Committee on Hispanics is pleased to award the 2020 Essay Prize in Latin American Thought to Dr. Rafael Vizcaino for his essay, “Which Secular Grounds? The Atheism of Liberation Philosophy.” The Committee commends Dr. Vizcaino for his profound, rigorous, and original essay, which not only contributes to the growth and expansion of the field but also represents the best, unpublished, English-language philosophical essay in Latin American Thought.

From the selection committee: We were pleased to select Christian List’s Why Free Will is Real as the recipient of the 2020 Joseph B. Gittler Award for its contributions to the philosophy of social science. List defends a “compatabilist libertarianism,” demonstrating how a deterministic account of human organisms, construed as physical systems, might be reconciled with the substantive kinds of choice, agency and self-control people must have if they are to be justly held responsible for their actions in moral and legal contexts. In accessible prose, List weaves together work on mental causation, counterfactual dependency, and psychological explanation to sketch an attractive account of free will that might be used to unify the diverse perspectives of humanists and social scientists. The resulting synthesis is remarkable for both its clarity and practical significance.

  • 2021 Jean Hampton Prize 
    “Awarded biennially to a philosopher at a junior career stage whose paper is accepted for the Pacific Division meeting. The paper must be in some area of philosophy in which Professor Hampton worked, including social and political philosophy, foundations of ethics, normative ethics, the philosophy of law, rational choice theory, feminist theory, Hobbes to Hume, Kant, realism, and pragmatism.” ($500)
    Awarded to Nathan Hauthaler (Stanford University) for “For No Particular Reason”.
  • 2021 William James Prize
    For “the best paper in the area of American philosophy that is both (a) written by a philosopher who received the Ph.D. within five years of the beginning of the calendar year in which the paper is submitted, or is a graduate student, and (b) accepted for inclusion in the Eastern Division program by the program committee through the normal process of anonymous-reviewing.” ($300)
    Awarded to Heather Spradley (Harvard University) for “Inquiring While Believing”.

From the selection committeeSpradley’s paper treats the relationship between two topics central to American Pragmatism: inquiry and belief. She makes the case that while it might seem impossible for a person to inquire into whether something is true if they already believe it, this combination of attitudes is not only possible but sometimes the rationally important to cultivate. Without combining inquiry and belief, Spradley argues, epistemic bubbles will form that impede living together cooperatively in political society. The paper brings into focus in an original and compelling a type of epistemic demand imposed by political association.

  • 2020 Journal of Value Inquiry Prize
    Biennially “awarded for the best unpublished, article-length work in philosophy by a non-academically affiliated philosopher. The winner’s work may be published in the Journal of Value Inquiry by mutual agreement of the author and the editors of the journal.” ($1000)
    Awarded to Matthew Bennett for “Demoralising Trust”.

From the selection committee“Demoralizing Trust” argues against widely held “moralizing” accounts of trust. According to such accounts, a person who trusts someone else does so because they expect the trusted person to possess the moral motivations and moral qualities that would lead to the expected behavior. The alternative proposed here is a commitment account according to which the person trusted is believed to be committed to behaving in the relevant way. The notion of commitment used here is a psychological one, not a moral one—though moral commitment could be involved, too. However, moral motivations are neither necessary nor sufficient for trust. “Demoralizing Trust” is not only a very well written and argued paper but also a highly original one. It makes an important contribution to ongoing discussions about trust and related issues. It is an excellent choice for the Journal of Value Inquiry Prize.

From Dominic McIver Lopes, chair of the APA Board of Officers: The Philip L. Quinn Prize is given “in recognition of service to philosophy and philosophers, broadly construed,” and each laureate represents a distinctive and personal vision of how the life of a philosopher can enrich the lives of other philosophers. Kwame Anthony Appiah’s writings in ethics, culture, and identity are subtle and timely, and his contributions catalyzed the mainstreaming of philosophy of race and Africana philosophy within the discipline. His leadership on the boards of the APA, the MLA, the ACLS, and the AAAS, and on many juries, including the jury for the Berggruen Prize, has fortified the communities of scholars within which we thrive. In his column as “The Ethicist” in the New York Times Magazine, Appiah embodies a new model of the public philosopher as confidant and advisor, as well as advocate and explainer.

  • 2020 Sanders Book Prize
    For “the best book in philosophy of mind, metaphysics, or epistemology that engages the analytic tradition published in English in the previous five-year period.” Funded by the Marc Sanders Foundation. ($7000).  (Note: according to the APA, “due to the financial impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, this prize has been temporarily suspended.)
    Awarded to Sarah Moss (University of Michigan) for Probabilistic Knowledge (Oxford).

From the selection committeeSarah Moss’s Probabilistic Knowledge is a philosophically creative work that moves canonically-significant conversations  forward in epistemology and philosophy of language, with important and interesting applications in philosophy of mind and ethics. The book contends that the role propositional content plays in epistemology should be supplanted by probabilistic content, with the result that knowledge is constituted by probabilistic epistemic claims and so is justified by richly-pragmatic means. A further distinctive feature of the book is its engagement with a vast and diverse literature.

  • 2021 Sanders Graduate Student Awards
    “Awarded to each of the three best papers in mind, metaphysics, epistemology, or ethics submitted for the annual APA Eastern Division meeting by graduate students, as chosen by the Eastern Division program committee.” Funded by the Marc Sanders Foundation. ($1000 each)
    Awarded to:

    • Lucas Battich (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich) for “Opening up the Openness of Joint Attention”
    • Kathleen Connelly (University of California, San Diego) for “Blame and Patronizing”
    • Madeleine Ransom (University of British Columbia) for “Perceptual Learning of High-Level Properties”
  • 2020 Prize for Excellence in Philosophy Teaching
    “Recognizes a philosophy teacher who has had a profound impact on the student learning of philosophy in undergraduate and/or pre-college settings.” Sponsored by the APA, the American Association of Philosophy Teachers (AAPT), and the Teaching Philosophy Association (TPA).
    Awarded to:

    • Russell Marcus (Hamilton College)
      From the selection committeeDr. Marcus is one of the central figures in the success of the AAPT/APA teaching hubs, an important scholar of teaching and learning in philosophy, author of a logic textbook, founder and director of the Hamilton summer program for innovative teaching, and beloved mentor. His inventive team-based pedagogies and exemplary scaffolded assignments motivate transformative student learning.
    • Eduardo Villanueva (Pontifical Catholic University of Peru)
      From the selection committeeDr. Villaneuva has changed the way philosophy is practiced in Peru, inspiring a letter writer to say that he is “the most important philosophy teacher in Latin America today.” He removes barriers. Without his work, some people would not have access to college. Without his work, opportunities for philosophic engagement from around the globe would not be available to students at his university and beyond.
The APA also announced the creation of the Alvin Plantinga Prize. Funded by the Bossenbroek Family Foundation, the prize was established in honor of Alvin Plantinga, John A. O’Brien Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame. The prize will recognize original essays that engage philosophical issues about or in substantial ways related to theism. One prize of $10,000 and up to two honorable mention prizes of $5,000 each will be awarded annually.
The APA’s announcement of its awards is here.
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