International Journal of Philosophical Studies Essay Prize Winners

The International Journal of Philosophical Studies (IJPS) has announced the winners of its 2023 essay prizes.

The theme for the IJPS Robert Papazian Essay Prize was “The Ethics and Politics of Disagreement”. Its winner is Nick Küspert (St. Andrews) for their essay, “Conciliating to Avoid Moral Scepticism.”

Here’s the abstract of the paper:

A common worry about moral conciliationism is that it entails at best uncertainty about many of our moral beliefs and at worst epistemological moral scepticism. Against this worry, I argue that moral conciliationism saves us from epistemological moral scepticism and enables us to be confident in many of our moral beliefs. First, I show that only taking disagreements seriously as a threat to our beliefs allows us to utilise agreements in support of our beliefs (call this symmetry). Next, I argue that utilising moral agreements as an epistemic resource allows moral conciliationism to resist the potentially worrisome reduction in confidence of our moral beliefs. Taking the relevance of moral agreement into account, I argue that it is anti-conciliationism that must meet the challenge of epistemological moral scepticism. For this, I suggest that moral inquiry is best understood as a collective endeavour. If so, then agreement on our moral judgments is required to justify the confidence we have in many of our moral beliefs. However, by symmetry, this appeal is possible only if one accepts the conciliatory attitude towards disagreements. Hence, accepting, rather than rejecting moral conciliationism, is the way out of moral scepticism.

The prize is 3000 euros. This is the first time a graduate student has won the Papazian essay prize.

Robert Papazian, for whom the prize is named, was a political prisoner in Iran who was executed in 1982. You can learn more about him and the prize here.

The theme for the PERITIA competition was “Expert Disagreement”.

The winning article of the PERITIA IJPS prize of 2000 euros was “Disagreement about Disagreement?”  by Ruth Weintraub (Tel Aviv University).

Here’s its abstract:

This paper is not concerned with the (amply discussed) question as to the rational response to peer disagreement. Instead, it addresses a (considerably less often debated) problem to which many views about the (epistemic) significance of disagreement are vulnerable (to some extent or another): self-undermining. I reject several answers that have been proposed in the literature, defend one that has been offered (by meeting objections to it), and show that in its light, the prevalent assumption that the ‘equal-weight view’, a prominent view about disagreement, rationally requires us to suspend judgement about contentious matters, is seen to be too pessimistic.

The runner up PERITIA prize of 1200 euros was awarded to Aidan McGlynn (Edinburgh) for “Hidden Depths: Testimonial Injustice, Deep Disagreement, and Democratic Deliberation”.

There were two joint winners of the third prize of 500 euro each: Marc Andree Weber (Mannheim) for “Unknown Peers” and Manuel Almagro Holgado (Valencia) and Neftalí Villanueva Fernández (Granada) for “Disagreeing with Experts“.

This is the last year the Papazian and PERITIA prizes will be awarded.

The winning, shortlisted and invited essays, some of which are also open access, appear in IJPS, volume 31.3.


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