Political Philosophy
Prize Winners

2016 Winner

ZakarasAlex Zakaras, University of Vermont, has won the 2016 Sanders Prize in Political Philosophy for his paper “Complicity and Coercion: Towards an Ethics of Political Participation.”  Zakaras is Associate Professor at The University of Vermont, specializing in political philosophy and the history of political thought.

This year there were over 45 essays submitted for the prize competition.

Zakaras will be presenting his award-winning paper, “Complicity and Coercion: Towards an Ethics of Political Participation,” at the 4th Annual Workshop for Oxford Studies in Political Philosophy that will take place in Barcelona, Spain, June 1-3, 2016 (The full schedule for the conference will be available at the conference web page). The paper will also be published in Oxford Studies in Political Philosophy.

Abstract:

This essay has three parts. First, I develop a causal account of individual complicity in collective injustice. Second, drawing on this account, I argue that citizens are often complicit in their government’s injustices, even when they do nothing more than obey the law, pay taxes, and lead ordinary, private lives. Though this claim has become relatively commonplace in the recent theoretical literature on global justice, it is seldom justified adequately. I maintain that citizens can be complicit despite the fact that their participation in collective injustice is typically coerced, and I consider the conditions under which state coercion might exonerate them. Third, I suggest that citizens’ complicity gives rise—especially in democratic polities—to an obligation to participate responsibly in politics.

An honorable mention goes to Thomas Sinclair (University of Oxford), the runner-up for the prize. His paper was titled “The Power of Public Positions: Official Roles in Kantian Legitimacy.”

2015 Winner

Keith HyamsKeith Hyams has won the inaugural Sanders Prize in Political Philosophy. Hyams is Associate Professor of Political Theory and Interdisciplinary Ethics in the department of Politics and International Studies at The University of Warwick, where he teaches political theory and works with the Interdisciplinary Ethics Research Group.

This year there were over 75 essays submitted for the prize competition.

Hyams will be presenting his award-winning paper, “On the Contribution of Ex Ante Equality to Ex Post Fairness,” at the Workshop for Oxford Studies in Political Philosophy that will take place at Syracuse University September 18th-20th, 2015 (The full schedule for the conference will be available at the conference web page). The conference is free and open to the public. The paper will also be published in Oxford Studies in Political Philosophy.