WINNER OF THE WILFRID SELLARS ESSAY PRIZE
The judges for the 2013 Wilfrid Sellars Essay Prize
are pleased to announce that the winner for this year’s competition is Owen Ware, author of “Self-Love and Self-Conceit in
Kant’s Moral Psychology.”
joined the Department of Philosophy at Temple University as an Assistant
Professor in 2011, after holding a post-doctoral fellowship through the Social
Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. He completed his graduate
studies at the University of Toronto in 2010, writing a dissertation under the
direction of Paul Franks titled Kant,
Skepticism, and Moral Sensibility. Some of his recent publications include:
“The Duty of Self-Knowledge,” Philosophy
and Phenomenological Research (2009), “Fichte’s Voluntarism,” European Journal of Philosophy (2010),
“Self-Consciousness and Personal Identity” (with Don Ainslie), Routledge Companion to Eighteenth Century
Philosophy (forthcoming), and “Kant on Moral Sensibility and Moral
Motivation,” Journal of the History of
the awarded essay, Owen addresses Kant’s seemingly pessimistic view of human
nature. In addition to loving ourselves in an egoistic manner, Kant thinks we
are prone to inflate the importance of our needs and inclinations, what he
calls “self-conceit” in the second Critique.
Surprisingly, however, Kant says little to explain how self-conceit emerges in
human life, and his few scattered remarks on the issue are quite puzzling. Owen
seeks to fill these gaps by considering a parallel to what Kant calls
“transcendental illusion” in the first Critique.
He explains why self-conceit is different from what Rousseau calls
“amour-propre” and from what Kant calls, in later works, “radical evil.” On the
reading Owen defends, self-conceit emerges not from our needs and inclinations,
but from the way we must rationally pursue their satisfaction.
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