The Marc Sanders Foundation has announced the winners of its 2022 Early Modern Philosophy Prize and its 2022 Philosophy of Mind Prize.
The Early Modern Philosophy Prize was awarded to Gabriel Watts, a graduate student at the University of Sydney, for his “Hume’s Gambit: Irreligion, Animals, and Truth”. Here’s the abstract of the paper:
In this paper I develop an irreligious reading of Hume’s decision to return to philosophy after his sceptical crisis at the end of Book One of A Treatise of Human Nature. Any irreligious reading of Hume’s epistemology must articulate Hume’s epistemic grounds for preferring his experimental science of human nature to sophisticated superstitious anthropologies. I argue that Hume believes his use of animal analogies to confirm his hypotheses offers him the best possible “security” against positing false causal claims about the nature of our “mental operations”, and that the superior security of this experimental method of reasoning provides him with epistemic grounds for preferring his science of human nature to superstitious metaphysics, even though both have title to our assent. I conclude by suggesting that in continuing to philosophise after his sceptical crisis, Hume risks his intellectual reputation on a bet that “the latest posterity” will find his science of human nature a surer path to useful truths than superstition, because his experimental philosophy of human nature is the most epistemically secure form of anthropology there is. This irreligious gambit, I claim, is the origin of Hume’s philosophy.
The Philosophy of Mind Prize was awarded to David Builes, an assistant professor of philosophy at Princeton University, and Michele Odisseas Impagnatiello, a graduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, for their “Experience and Time: A Metaphysical Approach”. Here’s the abstract:
What is the temporal structure of conscious experience? While it is popular to think that our most basic conscious experiences are temporally extended, we will be arguing against this view, on the grounds that it makes our conscious experiences depend on the future in an implausible way. We then defend an alternative view of the temporal structure of experience from a variety of different objections. Along the way, we hope to illustrate the wider philosophical ramifications of the relationship between experience and time. What one thinks about the temporal structure of experience is, we believe, deeply interconnected with issues concerning whether consciousness is vague or precise, whether conscious states can be reduced to physical states, whether phenomenal properties are intrinsic properties, and whether phenomenal consciousness can “overflow” access consciousness. As we will see, even seemingly unrelated metaphysical questions, such as the debate between Humean and Non-Humean accounts of natural necessity, bear on questions about the relationship between experience and time.
Builes and Impagnatiello previously won the 2022 Sanders Prize in Metaphysics.