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BPPA Annual Prize 2023 goes to Lewis Williams

We are delighted to announce that the winner of the first edition of the BPPA Annual Prize is Lewis Williams, from the University of Oxford, who submitted a paper entitled 'Beyond Normativity'. Together with the recognition, Lewis will receive a £800 award for this prize. Congratulations, Lewis!


Lewis' paper was selected among a handful of other papers, since the competition was open to anyone who had presented at our 2023 Annual Conference. The paper was unanimously commended by the jury, composed of members of the BPPA Executive Committee and Professor David Owens, from King's College London. In the paper, Lewis argues that, under uncertainty about the truth of normative nihilism, which can be roughly characterized as the view that nothing is really right or wrong, the question of what to do is no longer a normative one. Professor Owen's commendation included the following words about the paper:


It concerns an interesting issue and set it up very well. I was convinced that there might be a process of practical thinking (i.e. thinking about what one shall do) which does not involve normative concepts. The author should tell us more about what such practical thinking might involve. Presumably, we don’t what to count any internal process which leads to action as deliberation, as a process of thinking about what one shall do. The author uses the notion of ‘desire’ here. What are desires? How do they differ from the mechanisms behind bodily reflexes or sub-intentional actions like tongue movements, things not done deliberately?

We would like to thank Lewis and the rest of participants in the competition, as well as Professor Owens for their collaboration.


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