APA Issues Several Prizes


The American Philosophical Association (APA) has announced the winners of several of its prizes.

The prizes and their winners are:

2021 Book Prize

C. Thi Nguyen (University of Utah) for Games: Agency As Art (OUP, 2020)

Honorable Mention: Julia Staffel (University of Colorado) for Unsettled Thoughts: A Theory of Degrees of Rationality (OUP 2019)

Prize Details: $4000, awarded in odd years, for the best published book that was written by a younger scholar during the previous two years.

From the selection committee:

In Games: Agency As Art, Thi Nguyen offers a careful articulation and defense of the thesis that games are the art form of agency. The book offers a comprehensive account and analysis of how playing games involves a project of developing ourselves as agents, such that our agency and capacities are formed and sculpted within given parameters much the same way that an artist makes a work of art. This analysis opens up a critique of the gamification of life—from social media likes, to receiving badges for finishing tasks, to the self-checkout at the grocery store, to weight loss apps—wherein our agency itself becomes gamified, manipulated toward ends that appear to compromise our agency. Nguyen accomplishes the task of developing a compelling, detailed philosophical argument which will be a rewarding read for philosophers and non-philosophers alike. In doing so, he expands the reach of his call for caution about how gamification limits our agency, even as he develops an original framework for understanding the role and significance of games in our lives—in particular, how they prompt us to take care for making ourselves.

2021 Philip L. Quinn Prize

Anita Allen (University of Pennsylvania)

Prize Details: $2500 and a plaque. A prize in honor of Philip L. Quinn, awarded in recognition of service to philosophy and philosophers, broadly construed.

From Dominic McIver Lopes, chair of the APA board of officers: 

Anita Allen once remarked in an interview that she’s “committed to helping to improve the discipline.” Nobody has surpassed her in that regard. She famously challenged us to reflect upon what we have to offer those we’ve excluded and hope to include, and she’s championed inclusion at every opportunity. She pioneered the philosophy of privacy, balancing it against accountability and equity. She’s taken the message of philosophy to the airwaves, even appearing on 60 Minutes. And she has served professionally, at the highest levels, as President of the APA Eastern Division, as chair of the board of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, and as a member of President Barak Obama’s Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues. She holds two honorary doctorates and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In awarding her the 2021 Philip L. Quinn Prize, the APA celebrates Professor Anita Allen for her extraordinary blend of scholarship and leadership.

2021 Prize for Excellence in Philosophy Teaching

Monica Janzen (Anoka-Ramsey Community College)

Prize Details: $1000 and a plaque. Sponsored by the APA, the American Association of Philosophy Teachers (AAPT), and the Teaching Philosophy Association (TPA). Recognizes a philosophy teacher who has had a profound impact on the student learning of philosophy in undergraduate and/or pre-college settings.

From the selection committee:

Dr. Monica Greenwell Janzen is a recipient of multiple teaching awards at Anoka-Ramsey Community College, where she is a cherished and highly committed teacher. Even with a typical teaching load of five classes each semester, Dr. Janzen has made major contributions to the scholarship of teaching and learning. She has published articles on civic engagement projects and student activism. She has given several presentations on teaching, including at the American Association of Philosophy Teachers conference, the American Association of Colleges and Universities conference, the Public Philosophy Network, and the APA-AAPT Teaching Hub. She is an international leader on the topic of civic engagement exercises in courses, a high-impact practice. The website she created with Susan Hawthorne and Ramona Ilea, www.engagedphilosophy.com, was funded by an APA grant and provides a regularly updated resource for instructors planning on teaching using civic engagement projects. Dr. Janzen gets her students to see the connection between philosophical ideas and the world around them. She is a board member of the American Association of Philosophy Teachers and an editorial board member for AAPT Studies in Pedagogy. Dr. Janzen is a leader on her campus on issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Among philosophy teachers, Dr. Janzen is exemplary in connecting ideas with real world problems through her extensive work in teaching, research, and service.

2022 John Dewey Lectures

Eastern: Christine Korsgaard (Harvard University)

Central: Allan Gibbard (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor)

Pacific: Margaret Gilbert (University of California, Irvine)

Prize Details: 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. Each Dewey Lecturer receives an award of $1000 in addition to the honor of being selected.

From the selection committees:

Christine Korsgaard is an internationally renowned moral philosopher whose distinguished career has spanned more than four decades. Though moral philosophy and its history are her primary focus, her work touches on issues in philosophy of mind, metaphysics, moral psychology, and personal identity. In her teaching, she has mentored a number of students who have gone on to be prominent philosophers. She has spent time at institutions across the United States, most notably at the University of California at Santa Barbara, the University of Chicago, and Harvard University. The Eastern Division is thus honored to have her share her perspective on philosophy in America at the 2022 Dewey Lecture.

Allan Gibbard has been one of the world’s leaders in developing the metaethical view known as expressivism. During his long and distinguished career, almost entirely at the University of Michigan, he was at the core of a remarkable group of ethicists who trained generations of now-prominent moral philosophers. He served as the APA’s Central Division President, is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

Margaret Gilbert, Abraham I. Melden Chair in Moral Philosophy and Distinguished Professor at University of California Irvine, has an exemplary record of contributions to scholarship in social, political, and moral philosophy. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and was a recipient of the Dr. Martin R. Lebowitz and Eve Lewellis Lebowitz Prize from the APA. Through her many books and articles, Professor Gilbert is well-known for illuminating the nature of social relations and the manner in which joint commitments between people provide foundations for rights and obligations. Her work has had a remarkable impact on our understanding of fundamental philosophical issues about the nature of agreements, promises, and moral rights and also influenced research in other disciplines such as the history of science, psychology and anthropology. Professor Gilbert has also played a very active role in the life of the profession and to the work of the APA specifically.

2021 Routledge, Taylor & Francis Prize

James Fritz (Virginia Commonwealth University) for “Moral Encroachment and Reasons of the Wrong Kind” (Philosophical Studies, 2020)

Junyeol Kim (Chungbuk National University) for “The Horizontal in Frege’s Begriffsschrift” (Synthese, 2020)

Prize Details: The prize is awarded for the two best published articles in philosophy written by adjunct professors, and is funded by the Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group. Each winner receives $1000.

From the selection committee:

James Fritz’s article “Moral encroachment and reasons of the wrong kind” poses a challenge for defenders of moral encroachment theories about knowledge: how are moral considerations reasons of the right kind, when other sorts of non-epistemic considerations (such as bribes) are of the wrong kind? It argues that only a moderate version of the moral encroachment theory can meet this challenge. More radical versions of moral encroachment theories cannot explain the connection between moral considerations a belief’s chance of being false. This not only makes an outstanding, novel contribution to the literature on moral encroachment, but also helps to frame the debate about it clearly and helpfully for those outside of it. 

Junyeol Kim‘s article, “The Horizontal in Frege’s Begriffsschrift” offers an original interpretation of Frege’s horizontal stroke in his mature work, leading to an entirely new understanding of the compositionality of the conjoined vertical-horizontal stroke as well as Frege’s conception of assertion and judgment. This interpretation resolves serious tensions in Frege’s account between the prevalent account of the conjoined stroke on the one hand and certain issues concerning well-formedness, assertion, and indefinability on the other. The key to the resolution of these tensions is an ingenious move of separating the making of an identification from the making of an identity assertion. This is an outstanding contribution both to Frege scholarship and to the philosophy of logic, deserving of the Routledge, Taylor & Francis Prize.

2021 Joseph B. Gittler Award

Anna Alexandrova (University of Cambridge) for A Philosophy for the Science of Wellbeing (OUP, 2017)

Prize Details: $4000. Given for an outstanding scholarly contribution in the field of the philosophy of one or more of the social sciences. Funded by the estate of Joseph B. Gittler.

From the selection committee:

Anna Alexandrova’s book A Philosophy for the Science of Well-Being is a paradigmatic example of the work that the Gittler Award was conceived of recognizing. It constitutes an extremely significant contribution to the philosophy of one of the social sciences in delineating the philosophical and conceptual foundation of the contemporary science of well-being. As Alexandrova shows, such a project cannot proceed merely in the light of high-level philosophical conceptions of well-being. Rather, from the very start, it has to take into account scientific concerns about measurement and the empirical evaluations of our claims about what constitutes well-being. For that very reason, Alexandrova urges us to think of mid-level theories adopted to a variety of different contexts and stages of human life as the appropriate level of reflective theorizing. Her book achieves the rare feat of being able to speak both to philosophers of social science as well as to actual social scientists.

2022 Arthur Danto/American Society for Aesthetics Prize 

Sarah Lewis (Harvard University) for “Groundwork: Race and Aesthetics in the era of Stand Your Ground Law” (Art Journal, 2020)

Honorable Mention: Michel-Antoine Xhignesse (Capilano University) for “What Makes a Kind an Art-Kind?” (British Journal of Aesthetics, 2020)

Prize Details: $1000, awarded to a member of the APA and the American Society for Aesthetics for the best paper in the field of aesthetics, broadly understood, in a refereed journal, or an original book chapter or original essay published in a collection with a multiplicity of contributors. This prize is in honor of the late Arthur Danto.

From the selection committee:

Sarah Lewis’s paper “Groundwork: Race and Aesthetics in the era of Stand Your Ground Law” is a beautifully written, original, and penetrating paper that reflects on the concept of “grounding” as it considers a range of works of art that address racialized life in the US. It is important work that insightfully bridges philosophy and art criticism, in a way that fits in perfectly with the legacy of Arthur Danto’s own work.

2021 Frank Chapman Sharp Memorial Prize

Lee-Ann Chae (Temple University) for “What is the Aim of a Just War?”

Prize Details: $1500. Awarded every other year in odd years for the best unpublished essay or monograph on the philosophy of war and peace submitted for the competition.

From the selection committee:

Just war theory—which holds that war can be justified when regulated by moral principles—has long claimed that the aim of a just war is peace, and not victory. In this way, just war theory attempts to stake out the middle ground between its two main rivals, realism (which holds that we must pragmatically pursue victory), and pacifism (which holds that we must nonviolently pursue peace). “What is the Aim of a Just War?” shows that just war theory cannot meaningfully and consistently distinguish between peace and victory, and so risks collapsing into either realism or pacifism.

2022 Gregory Kavka/University of California, Irvine Prize in Political Philosophy

Chong-Ming Lim (Nanyang Technological University) for “Vandalizing Tainted Commemorations” (Philosophy and Public Affairs, 2020)

Prize Details: $1000 and APA Pacific Symposium in honor of the recipient. Awarded every other year in even years to the author of a paper in a refereed journal, an original book chapter or an original essay published in a collection with a multiplicity of contributors, from any area of political philosophy and political theory.

From the selection committee:

Lim’s paper fills a philosophical gap on the conversation over timely, connected political issues of free political speech and controversial political monuments, and advances a novel argument over what the public should do about “tainted” memorials, or commemorations of injustice. The paper offers a qualified defense of “a suitably constrained vandalism” of tainted commemorations. This view was found by the selection committee to have direct practical relevance, to bridge diverse philosophical traditions and so to be broadly important, and generative of significant future discussion. The selection committee found the argument to be the first to substantively argue that vandalism of tainted memorials is a compelling solution.

2021 Essay Prize in Latin American Thought

Ernesto Rosen Velasquez (University of Dayton) for “Is Latina Mestiza Identity a Being-in-Worlds?”

Prize Details: Awarded to the author of the best unpublished, English-language, philosophical essay in Latin American thought. $500 and publication of winning essay in the APA Newsletter on Hispanic/Latino Issues in Philosophy.

From the selection committee:

The APA Committee on Hispanics/Latinxs in Philosophy is pleased to award the 2021 Essay Prize in Latin American Thought to Dr. Ernesto Rosen Velasquez for his essay, “Is Latina Mestizo Identity a Being-in-Worlds?” The Committee commends Dr. Rosen Velasquez for an innovative, rigorous, contribution to Latinx/Latin American philosophy, one that not only contributes to the growth and expansion of our field, but can also be counted among the best original, English-language philosophical essays of 2021.

2022 William James Prize

Caleb Ward (University of Hamburg) for “Pursuing Self-Preservation over Security: Audre Lorde and the Thick Necessity of Survival”

Prize Details: $300. Awarded to the author of the best paper in the area of American philosophy that is both (a) written by a philosopher who received their PhD 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.

Sanders Graduate Student Awards

Hugo Cossette-Lefebvre (McGill University) for “Relational equality at the global level: moving beyond deontic relational egalitarianism”

Samuel Director (Brown University) for “Framing Effects and Consent”

Elise Woodard (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor) for “The Ignorance Norm and Paradoxical Assertions”

Prize Details: $1000 to each of the winners. Awarded for 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. This prize is funded by the Marc Sanders Foundation.

2021 APA/PDC Prize for Excellence and Innovation in Philosophy Programs

The National High School Ethics Bowl (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)

Prize Details: Co-sponsored by the APA and the Philosophy Documentation Center, the prize “recognizes philosophy departments, research centers, institutes, societies, publishers, and other organizations for creating programs that risk undertaking new initiatives in philosophy and do so with excellence and success.” The prize includes a plaque and campus-wide electronic access to a bundle of philosophy resources from PDC for an entire year.

From the selection committee:

The selection committee recommends the National High School Ethics Bowl Academy for this prize. Prior to the pandemic, NHSEB was already excellent and facilitated the participation of 4,000 high school students across the country in navigating thorny contemporary ethical issues. During COVID, however, NHSEB shifted their focus to access and to on-boarding new participating high schools through their NHSEB Bridge program, which soon evolved into the NHSEB Academy and became an online hub for students, coaches, judges, and volunteers to crowdsource ideas about ethical perspectives, gain perspectives on cases from NHSEB experts, and collaborate to address significant ethical problems. The Academy is evidence of philosophers doing their best work in a public forum, to advance the public good.

(via Erin Shepherd)

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Shane Epting
6 months ago

If you haven’t read C. Thi Nguyen’s “acceptance speech” and work in non-mainstream philosophy, I highly encourage it. Very inspirational. https://twitter.com/add_hawk/status/1471171474874519554Report

Chris Franklin
Reply to  Shane Epting
6 months ago

Thanks for sharing that!Report