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Dutilh Novaes Wins Lakatos Award

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 20/05/2022 - 12:35am in

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Catarina Dutilh Novaes, professor and university research chair in the Department of Philosophy at VU Amsterdam, is the winner of the 2022 Lakatos Award.

The Lakatos Award, named in memory of philosopher Imre Lakatos, is awarded in recognition of a monograph in the philosophy of science broadly construed, either single authored or co-authored, published in English. The award is endowed by the Latsis Foundation and administered by an international committee organized by, but independent of, the Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

Professor Dutilh Novaes won the award for her book, The Dialogical Roots of Deduction (Cambridge University Press, 2020). According to the prize announcement,

The Dialogical Roots of Deduction is praised by the Selectors as a “masterwork” that is “absolutely fascinating” and in which “we have a breath-taking amount of knowledge revealed”: “the knowledge is breath-taking, the argument original, and the whole is an intellectual feat”. The book “develops a coherent, compelling and broadly articulated account of large parts of human reasoning that has wide relevance to understanding science as a particular development of human reason.” The book offers a “very intriguing, erudite, and potentially highly productive argument, namely that deduction is fundamentally a dialogical and collaborative phenomenon, and hence is not the outcome of individual activities based on rules or logic with reasoners in competition with each other, but instead should be viewed as a social activity.” In making this point, “the book clearly makes a very important contribution to our understandings of logic and mathematical reasoning”.

The Lakatos Award includes a prize of £10,000 (approximately $12,500) and the delivery of a lecture at the LSE.

Previous winners of the award are listed here.

Woollard Wins Journal of Applied Philosophy Prize

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 05/05/2022 - 10:25pm in

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Fiona Woollard, professor of philosophy at the University of Southampton, is the winner of the 2021 Journal of Applied Philosophy Essay Prize.

Professor Woollard was awarded the prize for her article, “Mother Knows Best: Pregnancy, Applied Ethics, and Epistemically Transformative Experiences.”

Here’s the abstract of the paper:

L.A. Paul argues that interesting issues for rational choice theory are raised by epistemically transformative experiences: experiences which provide access to knowledge that could not be known without the experience. Consideration of the epistemic effects of pregnancy has important implications for our understanding of epistemically transformative experiences and for debate about the ethics of abortion and applied ethics more generally. Pregnancy is epistemically transformative both in Paul’s narrow sense and in a wider sense: those who have not been pregnant face significant barriers to acquiring the knowledge made accessible through pregnancy. This knowledge is crucial for engaging with the ethics of abortion. The epistemically transformativeWIDE nature of pregnancy may require us to use new methods to try to partially grasp what pregnancy is like, such as, for example, significant engagement with narrative literature. Because pregnancy is also epistemically transformative in a narrow sense, we need to work out how to engage in ethical reasoning when relevant knowledge is not fully accessible to all. This argument has implications beyond the debate about abortion. Philosophers in many areas of applied ethics will need to work out how to respond appropriately to epistemically transformative experiences.

The prize includes £1000 and a subsidy for attendance at the Society for Applied Philosophy annual conference.

Philosopher Wins State-Wide Teaching Award in Texas

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 03/05/2022 - 7:30pm in

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Manuela Alejandra Gomez, professor of philosophy at El Paso Community College (EPCC), was named a 2022 Piper Professor, an honor bestowed by the government of Texas to recognize excellence in teaching.

The Piper Professor Program, launched in 1958, aims to reward “outstanding professors from two and four-year colleges and universities, public and private” for their “superior teaching at the college level.”

According to a press release from EPCC, the Piper Professorship “is one of the most prestigious, state-wide awards for teaching excellence in higher education.” It includes a $5000 prize.

Professor Gomez specializes in philosophical pedagogy, ethics, feminism, and Latin American philosophy. A former student says she “embodies hope, resilience, hard work, and excellence.” In addition to her work in the class, according to EPCC, Professor Gomez

also helps [students] outside of the classroom with community work and is the faculty sponsor for the extracurricular student Philosophy Club. Gomez and her students have raised more $40,000 for community projects as well as held drives for clothing, sewn masks during COVID and other projects.

Regarding the award, she says:

Being selected as one of the best professors in the state of Texas is a huge honor to me because there are not many women in philosophy, much less women from the U.S.-Mexico border. As a philosophy professor at EPCC, the same institution where I first learned English as a second language decades ago, I get to encourage my students to be critical, to seek justice, and to discover the power of putting philosophy into action to improve our community. Most of my academic research and philosophical pedagogy focus on creating a representation of diverse voices in philosophy and including those who have been neglected. Through the years, I have found that philosophy is a dynamic tool for healing and transformation.

You can read more about Professor Gomez here.

Goodin Wins Skytte Prize

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 29/04/2022 - 5:00pm in

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Robert Goodin, emeritus professor of philosophy at Australian National University, is the winner of the 2022 Johann Skytte Prize in Political Science.

The Skytte Prize, sponsored by the Johan Skytte Foundation at Uppsala University, is awarded to honor “the most remarkable achievements within the field of political science.” The Foundation awarded the prize to Goodin for his work over the past several decades, in which he

with acuity and success endeavored to blend political philosophy with empirical political science to increase the understanding of how decent and dignified societies can be shaped… He is a political thinker whose entire scholarly life has been shaped by the conviction that human progress is possible and that carefully designed public policy is one of the main tools we have for achieving it. He could thus be called one of the “social engineers” of political philosophy, and one of his lasting contributions has indeed been to develop “institutional design” as a field of research.

You can read the comprehensive prize citation here.

The Skytte Prize, which has been called by some the Nobel Prize of political science, includes an award of 500,000 Swedish kronor (approximately $50,000). You can view a list of previous Skytte Prize winners here.

Public Philosophy Project Wins DFG Communicator Award

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 07/04/2022 - 12:03am in

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The German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, or DFG) has named “denXte,” a public philosophy project led by Markus Schrenk (Düsseldorf), the winner of its 2022 Communicator Award.

According to press release from DFG, the Communication Award

goes to researchers who are particularly creative in their science communication, taking new, courageous paths and addressing their target groups in suitable and effective ways. They must also recognise the societal dimension of their research and contribute their knowledge to public debate, opinion-forming and decision-making processes. The prize money supports the recipient’s public engagement activities and enables them to implement new projects.

The award includes a prize of €50,000 (approximately $54,500).

The denXte project includes a series of live events on philosophical issues, a podcast, videos, surveys, and social media interactions,  among other things. In addition to Professor Schrenk, the team includes postdocs Amrei Bahr and David Löwenstein, as well as four philosophy students: Julia Frese, David Niemann, Christoph Sapp and Berit Weiß.


(l to r): Berit Weiß, Markus Schrenk, Julia Frese, Christoph Sapp, David Löwenstein, David Niemann, Amrei Bahr

The project was praised by the DFG for its “participatory approach to arousing interest in philosophy”:

The… team set itself the task of inviting people with no previous knowledge of philosophy to engage in dialogue about socially relevant topics through the format of the philosophical thought experiment. In the process, participants not only contribute their own questions and arguments, they also get to learn about the basic intellectual tools of philosophy along the way…

The project goes beyond the mere communication of academic facts and focuses on a facet of science communication that has been little illuminated: it trains the capacity to think and to negotiate problems in a rational and systematic way. This is particularly important in times of debate and conflict, in which it is becoming increasingly difficult to form one’s own opinion. 

You can learn more about denXte here, and about the award here.

Guerrero & Lafont Win 2022 Lebowitz Prize

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 06/04/2022 - 6:17am in

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Philosophers Alexander Guerrero (Rutgers) and Cristina Lafont (Northwestern) are the winners of the 2022 Dr. Martin R. Lebowitz and Eve Lewellis Lebowitz Prize for Philosophical Achievement and Contribution.


Alexander Guerrero and Cristina Lafont

The prize, awarded jointly by the American Philosophical Association (APA) and the Phi Beta Kappa Society (PBK), is bestowed upon a pair of accomplished philosophers “who hold contrasting (not necessarily opposing) views of an important philosophical question that is of current interest both to the field and to an educated public audience.”

The prize includes delivering lectures as part of the Lebowitz Symposium at an upcoming APA divisional meeting, an opportunity to publish the papers their lectures are based on in the Journal of the American Philosophical Association, and a significant honorarium (“in the range of $25,000 for each honoree” according to the APA).

In a press release about the prize, the APA describes the work of the winners:

Alexander Guerrero, Ph.D., received his Ph.D. in Philosophy from New York University. Dr. Guerrero has taught philosophy at Rutgers University since 2016. His current research focuses on a variety of topics in moral, legal, and political philosophy, and epistemology. His forthcoming book, Lottocracy: A New Kind of Democracy (under contract with Oxford University Press) argues that lotteries should be used to select political officials rather than elections. 

Cristina Lafont, Ph.D., received her Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Frankfurt, Germany. Dr. Lafont has taught philosophy at Northwestern University since 1995. Her current research focuses on normative questions in political philosophy concerning democracy and citizen participation, global governance, human rights, religion, and politics. Her most recent book is Democracy without Shortcuts (Oxford University Press, 2020), and she has also published numerous articles in contemporary moral and political philosophy.

You can learn more about Professor Guerrero’s work here and Professor Lafont’s here.

Previous winners are listed here.

Chen Wins 2021 Popper Prize

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 28/03/2022 - 11:06pm in

Eddy Keming Chen, assistant professor of philosophy at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), is the winner of the British Journal for the Philosophy of Science‘s 2021 Popper Prize.

The Popper Prize (formerly the Sir Karl Popper Essay Prize) is awarded by the British Journal for the Philosophy of Science (BJPS) “to the article judged to be the best published in that year’s volume of the Journal, as determined by the Editors-in-Chief and the BSPS [British Society for the Philosophy of Science] Committee.”

Professor Chen won the prize for his article, “Quantum Mechanics in a Time-Asymmetric Universe: On the Nature of the Initial Quantum State,” which the editors called an “ambitious, novel contribution to major issues in the foundations of physics.” Here’s the abstract of the paper:

In a quantum universe with a strong arrow of time, we postulate a low-entropy boundary condition (the past hypothesis, PH) to account for the temporal asymmetry. In this article, I show that the PH also contains enough information to simplify the quantum ontology and define a natural initial condition. First, I introduce ‘density-matrix realism’, the thesis that the quantum state of the universe is objective and impure. This stands in sharp contrast to wave-function realism, the thesis that the quantum state of the universe is objective and pure. Second, I suggest that the PH is sufficient to determine a natural density matrix, which is simple and unique. This is achieved by what I call the ‘initial projection hypothesis’: the initial density matrix of the universe is the (normalized) projection onto the PH-subspace (in the Hilbert space). Third, because the initial quantum state is unique and simple, we have a strong case for the nomological thesis: the initial quantum state of the universe is on a par with laws of nature. This new package of ideas has several interesting implications, including on the harmony between statistical mechanics and quantum mechanics, theoretical unity of the universe and the subsystems, and the alleged conflict between Humean supervenience and quantum entanglement.

There is a BJPS “short reads” (previously) of the article to read or listen to here.

Previous winners of the Popper Prize are listed here.

Papazian and Peritia Essay Prizes Awarded

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 26/02/2022 - 2:24am in

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The International Journal of Philosophical Studies and the University College Dublin Centre for Ethics in Public Life have announced the winners of the Robert Papazian and Peritia prizes.


[Elizabeth Morisette, “Beak”]

The themes for both the Papazian Prize and the Peritia Prizes vary from year to year. In 2020 the theme was testimonial injustice.

The Papazian Annual Essay Prize on Themes from Ethics and Political Philosophy was established in 2012 in memory of Robert Papazian, a young political activist who was executed in Iran in 1982. According to the prize description, “Robert Papazian’s political activism was motivated by his hatred of injustice and cruelty. He cared deeply for others and was affected by their suffering. His short life was guided, above all else, by a desire to defend the weak and vulnerable.”

The winner of the 2020 Papazian Prize is Charlotte Knowles (University of Groningen) for her essay, “Articulating Understanding: A Phenomenological Approach to Testimony on Gendered Violence.” The prize includes €1500 and is sponsored by the Papazian family. Here’s the abstract of the essay:

Testimony from victims of gendered violence is often wrongly disbelieved. This paper explores a way to address this problem by developing a phenomenological approach to testimony. Guided by the concept of ‘disclosedness’, a tripartite analysis of testimony as an affective, embodied, communicative act is developed. Affect indicates how scepticism may arise through the social moods that often attune agents to victims’ testimony. The embodiment of meaning suggests testimony should not be approached as an assertion, but as a process of ‘articulating an understanding’. This account is deepened in the discussion of testimony as a communicative act. It is argued that testimony must be considered as a relational whole, and thus our aim in receiving victims’ testimony should be to honour the relational conditions under which the truth of testimony can be heard. Approaching testimony as the collaborative process of enabling an understanding to be articulated can enhance our conception of gendered violence, whilst also better serving the victims of gendered violence by helping to overcome the lack of trust and excessive scepticism with which victims’ testimony is often met.

Two Peritia Prizes were awarded, both for co-authored essays. These prizes are affiliated with the Peritia (“Policy, Expertise, and Trust”) project, which “seeks to help citizens and policymakers understand trust in science and identify trustworthy expertise.”

The winners of the Peritia Prize are Havi Carel (University of Bristol) and Ian Kidd (University of Nottingham) for their essay, “Institutional Opacity, Epistemic Vulnerability, and Institutional Testimonial Justice“. The prize includes €1500 from the UCD Centre for Ethics in Public Life on behalf of Peritia. Here’s the abstract of their paper:

This paper offers an account of institutional testimonial justice and describes one way that it breaks down, which we call institutional opacity. An institution is opaque when it becomes resistant to epistemic evaluation and understanding by its agents and users. When one cannot understand the inner workings of an institution, it becomes difficult to know how to comport oneself testimonially. We offer an account of an institutional ethos to explain what it means for an institution to be testimonially just; we then describe how an ethos of institutional testimonial justice can break down when the institution becomes opaque. An opaque institution is especially problematic for individuals and groups already rendered epistemically vulnerable during their interactions with that institution, which we call epistemically vulnerabilised individuals. We articulate the features of an encounter between an epistemically vulnerabilised individual and an opaque institution. We end by tracing ameliorative strategies that could help repair a deteriorated institutional ethos of testimonial justice.

The winners of the early career Peritia Prize of €500 are Giulia Terzian (NOVA University of Lisbon) and independent researcher M. Inés Corbalán for their article, “Our epistemic duties in scenarios of vaccine mistrust.” Here’s the abstract of their paper:

What, if anything, should we do when someone says they don’t believe in anthropogenic climate change? Or that they worry that a COVID-19 vaccine might be dangerous? We argue that in general, we face an epistemic duty to object to such assertions, qua instances of science denial and science sceptical discourse, respectively. Our argument builds on recent discussions in social epistemology, specifically surrounding the idea that we ought to speak up against (epistemically) problematic assertions so as to fulfil an important epistemic obligation – namely, preventing epistemic harms in others. We show that both science denial (SD) and vaccine hesitant (VH) discourses are harmful in a distinctively epistemic sense, and as such generate an especially strong duty to voice our disagreement. As we also argue, this obligation is nonetheless defeasible: depending on the situational features of those involved, voicing an objection to VH discourse may actually end up doing more harm than good. We conclude by tracing what seems like a promising path towards restoring well-placed public trust in scientific testifiers. Doing so is key in order to guarantee equitable access to warranted beliefs about important subject matters, such as the safety of vaccines, to all segments of society.

You can learn more about the prizes here, and read the call for the next round of contests, which have a thematic focus on the emotions (with a deadline coming soon) here.

[The prizes were awarded back in September. My apologies for initially missing this news.]
[The original version of this post included the wrong text for the abstract of Carel and Kidd’s paper. It has been replaced with the correct text.]

Winners of the APA’s 2021 Public Philosophy Op-Ed Contest

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 18/02/2022 - 12:01am in

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The American Philosophical Association (APA) has announced the winners of its 2021 Public Philosophy Op-Ed Contest.

According to the APA, the aim of the Public Philosophy Op-Ed Contest is to “honor up to five standout pieces that successfully blend philosophical argumentation with an op-ed writing style. Winning submissions will call public attention, either directly or indirectly, to the value of philosophical thinking. The pieces will be judged in terms of their success as examples of public philosophy, and should be accessible to the general public, focused on important topics of public concern, and characterized by sound reasoning.”

The 2021 winners, recognized for op-eds published in 2020, are:

Winning authors receive a $100 award and will be formally recognized at the annual prize reception at an APA divisional meeting. You can learn more about the prize, and see a list of previous winners, here.

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