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Wilfrid Sellars Junior Scholar Essay Prize

The intention behind the Wilfrid Sellars Young Scholars Essay Prize is to help promote original Kantian or Kant-inspired philosophical work of scholars in the early stages of their careers. The Sellars Essay Prize has been enhanced by the generous contribution of Kantian Review, to whom we are very grateful.  First Place includes a $600 prize funded by Kantian Review as well as a presumption (subject to their approval) of publication by Kantian Review.  

Eligibility Rules:

1) “Junior” is defined here as fewer than 5 years from receipt of the Ph.D. on the prize submission deadline.  When you submit your paper, you must specify the month and year you received your Ph.D. as well as where you received it. (No judges will see this information.).

2) Authors must be members of NAKS at the time of submission and at the time of decision, and they cannot already have won First Place for the Sellars Prize in a previous year.

3) The essay must be written in English, single-authored, and not published (in print or online) prior to the submission deadline (typically February 28th, but in a leap year February 29th).

4) In order to keep the review process manageable, the essay may be no more than 8,000 words, including footnotes and endnotes. Essays over the word limit will not be reviewed.  Passed submissions have been rejected for exceeding the word limit.

5) Papers should be submitted to: the online form linked in the Call for Papers.  Don’t forget to submit the month and year of your Ph.D. and the institution that conferred it.

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.

Calls for submissions will be issued in the newsletter. Announcements will be made at the time

of the June newsletter if possible, or at the time of the September newsletter at the latest.

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”

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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