AAP Postgraduate Presentation Prize

Since 2015 the AAP offers a $500 prize for the best paper presented by a postgraduate student at the annual Conference. The prize is offered to encourage postgraduates to present at the Conference, and to recognise the philosophical contributions from excellent Australasian postgraduate students.

  2016 Winner

Stephen Gadsby - Macquarie University

'Anorexia Nervosa and the Oversized Experience'

  2016 Short List 

Stephen Gadsby - Macquarie University

'Anorexia Nervosa and the Oversized Experience'

"Anorexia Nervosa patients have a distorted experience of their body size. In the Anorexia literature this ‘oversized experience’ is referred to as a ‘body image disturbance’. Recently, new evidence has surfaced showing Anorexia patients have a distortion in their body schemas, a body representation used for motor control and planning. In this paper I discuss this new evidence and explore what kind of ‘oversized experience’ it results in. I argue it causes Anorexia patients to experience their bodies as oversized through the faulty perception of affordances in their environments. This reconceptualised ‘oversized experience’ cannot be captured by the term ‘body image disturbance’.

I also argue that propositional attitude formation in Anorexia can be accounted for with an empiricist model. Adopted from the literature on monothematic delusions, empiricist models explain abnormal beliefs as grounded in abnormal experiences. I argue that the propositional attitudes Anorexia patients have about their body size are grounded in the oversized experience."

Adam Piovarchy - University of Sydney

'Blaming the Excused: Reactive Attitudes and Causal Responsibility'

Recently, Doris and Murphy (2007) have argued that the soldiers involved in committing atrocities at Abu Ghraib prison and in the My Lai massacre may have been cognitively degraded, and if so should be excused for their actions. Talbert (2009) has responded that even if this argument is successful, on a reactive attitudes approach to moral responsibility the soldiers are still responsible for their actions as they are appropriate targets of our reactive attitudes. In this paper, I will resolve this tension. I will argue that Talbert has misdiagnosed the target of our reactive attitudes. By reflecting on arguments regarding William’s lorry driver (1981) I argue reflection on our moral practices reveals that mere causal responsibility is sufficient for the imposition of new duties of reparation. If an agent fails in these new duties, they thereby display poor quality of will to the victim, and are thus fitting targets of the reactive attitudes.

Lachlan Walmsley - Australian National University

'Please Explain – Radical Enactivism’s Explanatory Debt'

Radical Enactivism (Hutto & Myin 2013) is a position in the philosophy of cognitive science that aims to displace representationalism, the dominant position in cognitive science for the last 50-60 years. To accomplishing this aim, radical enactivism must provide an alternative explanation of cognition. Radical enactivism offers two alternative explanations of cognition. The first I call the dynamical explanation and the second I call the historical explanation. The mechanists have given us reasons for doubting that the first alternative makes for a good explanation (e.g. (Kaplan 2015; Kaplan & Bechtel 2011). The historical explanation does not hit the right explanatory target without the introduction of a proximate mechanism, but the proximate mechanisms suggested by radical enactivism are associationist mechanisms, the limitations of which led to the intial widespread endorsement of representationalism. Therefore, radical enactivism cannot displace representationalism in cognitive science.

  2015 winner

Tristram Oliver-Skuse - University of Melbourne

'Anger Felt towards a Bin-Licking Dog'

This paper offers a defence of Peter Goldie's notion of emotions as 'feeling-towards' to suggest an account of phenomenology as grounding emotional intentionality in a way that does not rule out the possibility of our emotions being opaque to us.

Download a copy of this paper 

  2015 Short List 

Ross Pain  La Trobe University

'A Metalinguistic Defence of Strong Deflationism'

Linus Huang University of Sydney

'The Nativist Input Problem: Why Evolutionary Psychology Still Can't Explain Human Intelligence'

Millicent ChurcherUniversity of Sydney

'Beyond Empathy: Adam Smith on the Sympathetic Imagination'

Tristram Oliver-Skuse, Linus Huang, and Millicent Churcher at 2015 AAP Conference at Macquarie University. 
Photos : Kelly Hamilton.


To be eligible, applicants must be members of the AAP in good standing and enrolled in an Australasian* Higher Degree Research (HDR) Philosophy program, pursuing either a PhD or a Masters by Research. Applicants cannot submit more than one paper in any given year, and all papers must conform to the word limit and be properly prepared for blind review. Previously published papers are not eligible.

*Australasia includes the regions of the Association - Australia, New Zealand and Singapore.

Applications for the 2016 Postgraduate Presentation Prize will open in March 2016 when registration opens for the 2016 AAP Conference.

1. Applicants are asked to submit a full paper of 3000-5000 words, by email, as pdf attachments, prepared for blind review. The body of email should including details confirming your status as an HDR student in an Australasian philosophy program.

2. At the same time, submit an abstract to the conference via the normal system.

After the deadline, a judging panel will review all submissions and select a short-list of entries. Shortlisted applicants will have their conference fees waived, and will be invited to attend the conference dinner free of charge.

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