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Young Ethicist Prize

University of Colorado, Boulder


Every year RoME offers a prize of $500 to the top paper at the conference written by an untenured ethicist. The prize competition is open to any participating untenured philosopher (including, but not limited to, tenure-track faculty, instructors, and graduate students). 


In 2012 the YEP committee was pleased to offer the award jointly to Adrienne Martin (University of Pennsylvania) and Jason Hanna (Northern Illinois University). The winners will each receive a $250 check.


Winning Paper #1: Adrienne Martin, “Gratitude, Disappointment, and Normative Hope”


Abstract: I want to examine the way we sometimes place hope in people, and argue that it is a distinctive and fundamental way of relating to people interpersonally. I aim to fill two gaps in the philosophical literature. First, recent philosophical literature on hope—which is fairly small, to begin with—focuses on our hopes for particular outcomes to unfold in the world rather than hopes that are essentially interpersonal. What I will call normative hope has not been previously identified. Second, the existing literature on interpersonal relations focuses on holding people responsible and, I will argue, normatively hoping for a person to live up to some principle of behavior is a way of aspiring on her behalf, which is closely related to but different from holding her responsible for her behavior.


Winning Paper #2: Jason Hanna, “Doing, allowing, and the relevance of the past”


Abstract: Most deontologists claim that it is more objectionable to do harm than it is to allow harm of comparable magnitude. I argue that this view faces a largely neglected puzzle regarding the moral relevance of an agent’s past behavior. Consider an agent who chooses to save five people rather than one, where the one person’s life is in jeopardy because of something the agent did earlier. How are the agent’s obligations affected by the fact that his now letting the one die would retroactively make it the case that he has killed? I argue that the most promising deontological response to this question is difficult to defend. Further, even if it could be defended, it would not resolve a further set of cases, in which commonsense intuition indicates that an agent is required to terminate a threat she initiated more recently in preference to a threat she initiated less recently.


Past Recipients:


2011: Dale Dorsey (University of Kansas): "Desire Satisfaction and Welfare as Temporal"


2010: Jonathan Way (University of Southampton): "Transition and the Wrong Kind of Reason"


2009: Michael Ferry (Spring Hill College): "Does Morality Demand our Very Best? On Moral Prescriptions and the Line of Duty"


2008: Bradford Skow (MIT): "Preferentism and the Paradox of Desire"



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