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Wilfrid Sellars Junior Scholar Essay Prize

Submission deadline: May 31, 2024. Click here for the submission form.

The North American Kant Society is pleased to announce the 14th annual Wilfrid Sellars Essay Prize competition. This prize will be awarded for the best essay on any topic that demonstrates the continuing relevance of Kant’s philosophy. Essays must be single-authored, previously unpublished (work under review or forthcoming will be considered), and cannot exceed 8,000 words in length (including notes and works cited/bibliography). Submissions not within this word limit may not be considered.

The intention behind the Sellars Prize is to help promote original Kantian or Kant-inspired philosophical work of scholars in the early stages of their careers. Submissions will be blind-reviewed and judged by members of a review committee drawn from the NAKS Executive Committee and Board of Trustees.

Eligibility rules:

1) The essay must be written in English, single-authored, and not published (online or in print) prior to April 1, 2024.

2) Only one submission per author is allowed.  (Submitting more than one paper will lead to disqualification.)

3) ‘Junior’ is defined here as 5 years or fewer from receipt of the Ph.D. on the prize submission deadline.

4) Authors must be members of NAKS at the time of submission and during the period when the submissions are under review.

5) Authors cannot be past recipients of the Wilfrid Sellars Essay Prize.

Article should be submitted to this form  (you must first log in to our website to access it). Entries should be submitted in Word format and state the word count at the end. They should be formatted for blind review. Submissions must be accompanied by a cover letter that specifies the author’s name, email contact information, and title of the paper, and also includes a declaration stating that eligibility rules (1)-(4) above are satisfied.

The Kantian Review has joined hands with NAKS to enhance our annual Wilfrid Sellars Junior Essay Prize. This year, we will award a $300 prize. Additionally, the prize winner will have the presumptive offer of publication in Kantian Review (assuming approval by the editor). The committee reserves the right not to award a prize, if in its judgment none is warranted.

Decision Process:

Submissions will be blind-reviewed and judged by members of a review committee drawn from the NAKS Executive Committee, members of the Board of Trustees, and previous Sellars Prize winners. The essays are assigned to judges based, to the extent possible, on their expertise. Each essay is initially reviewed by at least two judges. The submissions will be judged on originality of its thesis, impact or significance within its subfield, strength of the argument, textual evidence in support of its thesis, and its clarity. The award committee reserves the right not to award a First or Second Place winner if in its judgment no prize is warranted.

Prize Winners

2023 First Place: John Walsh, “Kant’s Principia Diiudicationis and Executionis”

Second Place: J. P. Messina, “Freedom as Independence: Kant vs. the Neo-Republicans”

2022 Lorenzo Spagnesi, “Regulative Idealization: A Kantian Approach to Idealized Models”

2021 (tie) Samuel Kahn, "Reconstructing Kant's Position on Abortion and the Right to Life"

2021 (tie) Sabina V. Bremner, "Kant on Autonomy as Self-Making"

2020 Andrew Stephenson, “Existence, Modality, and Imagination in Kant: Lessons from Barcan"

2019 Samuel Kahn, “Kant, an Unlucky Philosopher of Moral Luck"

2018 Robert Clewis, “Beauty and Utility in Kant’s Aesthetics: The Origins of Adherent Beauty”

2016 Erica Holberg, “The Importance of Pleasure in the Moral for Kant's Ethics"

2015 Mavis Biss, “Kantian Moral Striving”

             Honorable Mention:  Reed Winegar, "Kant's Criticisms of Hume's Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion"

2014 Justin Shaddock, “Kant and the Most Difficult Thing that Ever Could be Undertaken on Behalf of Metaphysics"

2013 Owen Ware, “Self-Love and Self-Conceit in Kant’s Moral Psychology"

2012 Eric Entrican Wilson, “Kant on Autonomy and the Value of Persons”

2011 Ernesto Garcia, “A New Look at Kantian Respect for Persons"

2010 Matthew C. Altman, “What Kant Has to Teach Us About Same-Sex Marriage"

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