Essay Prize Competition


We are pleased to announce the winners for our essay prize competition. They are:

1st Prize: Monique Wonderly, “Love and Attachment”

2nd Prize: Sam Shpall, “Love and Rational Agency”

3rd Prize: Diane Jeske, “False Friends”

Honorable Mention: Laurence Holland, “On Being in Love”

Original Prize Announcement

(Note that the competition has concluded, and we are no longer accepting submissions.)

We are pleased to announce a prize competition for essays on love, caring, and human agency. Essays are invited on any of a wide range of topics related to the nature of caring or love (broadly construed), or to the roles that love or caring play in human thought and action. Examples of questions an essay might address include, but are not limited to: What is love? What is it to care about something or someone? How can an understanding of love contribute to our understanding of our capacity to value? What role does caring play in free or autonomous agency? What role should love play in the theory of practical reason? What connection is there between caring and moral character? How does the capacity for love develop in infants and children? What cognitive mechanisms or abilities are necessary for the capacity to care? What can we learn about the capacities to love and care from brain disorders that compromise these capacities? What role does the capacity to care play in moral or legal responsibility?

Essays are invited from philosophy, psychology, cognitive science, neuroscience, economics, law, and any other academic discipline whose methods can shed light on these or related questions. Essays must be unpublished and not accepted for publication at the time of submission, and other things being equal we prefer they not be more than 12,000 words. Essays should be submitted electronically to no later than May 16, 2014.

Prizes will be awarded to three winning essays, with a top prize of $3000; they will also be considered for publication in an edited volume on love and human agency. Winners will be invited (travel and lodging expenses paid) to an interdisciplinary conference on love and human agency to be held at Franklin and Marshall College September 19–20, 2014, where prizes will be awarded.

The selection panel will be comprised of team members of the project on Love and Human Agency, in consultation with experts in specific disciplines as necessary. Winners will be announced in Summer, 2014.

Any questions about submission criteria or process should be sent to