Professor Viehoff won the award for “Challenging Democratic Commitments: Liberal Arguments for Instrumentalism about Democracy.” Here’s an abstract of the paper:
Many citizens of liberal democracies are both wedded to fundamental tenets of liberal political morality and robustly committed to democracy. Recent liberal arguments for instrumentalism about democracy have sought to cast doubt on the compatibility of these allegiances, charging that core elements of liberal political morality disallow the procedural justifications of democracy on which robust democratic commitments rest. This essay shows that these arguments fail: we can accept the liberal principles and values to which these arguments appeal, and yet invoke democratic procedural goods in the justification of democratic arrangements. By delineating the space that remains for procedural considerations within a broadly liberal political morality, this essay provides an outline for justifications of democracy that take equally seriously the democratic and the liberal commitments many citizens of liberal democracies endorse.
The Sanders Prize in Political Philosophy includes $5000 and publication of the winning paper in Oxford Studies in Political Philosophy.
The prize is administered by Steven Wall (University of Arizona), in conjunction with David Sobel (Syracuse University). You can view more information about the prize and a list of its previous winners here.