Wm. H. Fink Information page

William H. Fink Award

Each year the Department holds a competition for the William H. Fink award, which carries a cash prize (currently $1,000). The prize is awarded in recognition of an outstanding graduate student essay in philosophy.Papers submitted for the Fink competition are expected to be presentations of original, sustained philosophical arguments—or original, insightful criticisms of published material. The papers should exhibit the philosophical quality and polish in execution one finds in credible submissions to good philosophy journals. Awards need not be made every year.




The William H. Fink Award will be presented again this year for the winning entry in an essay competition open only to graduate students currently enrolled in the Philosophy Department. Essays submitted for this competition may be on any philosophical topic. Papers written for courses, specifically for this occasion, sections of dissertations, and papers submitted for publication may be entered in the competition, provided they are self-contained. In accordance with the wishes of Dr. Fink, who endowed this award, entries will be judged on the basis of originality, style, and the degree to which they exemplify high standards of reasoning.

Rules governing the competition:

1.    The competition is open to all currently enrolled Philosophy graduate students, except previous first-place winners.

2.    Only one paper may be submitted by an eligible student. 

3.    The paper must be substantially different from papers submitted by the same author for previous Fink competitions.

4.    The paper must be typed, double-spaced and may not exceed 7,750 words of text and footnotes. The pages must be numbered and the title should appear at the top of the first page. The paper has to be prepared for a blind review: i.e., the name of the author should not be evident anywhere in the paper (including footnotes). Also, prepare a separate cover 

5.    Please submit electronically a .pdf copy of the paper and a .pdf copy of the cover sheet to: Michelle (brown.930@osu.edu).  Notice that these should be separate .pdf files. Also, when you create the .pdf file of the paper make sure to leave the author’s line blank. 

6.     THE DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION IS Monday March 25, at Noon!! Questions regarding the competition should be addressed to Stewart Shapiro.  

The entries will be judged by a faculty committee consisting of Professors Shapiro, McPherson, Samuels, and Downing (ex officio). Questions concerning the competition should be addressed to Stewart Shapiro.

The award of $1000.00 will be presented, and the winning paper will be read and discussed at a special departmental colloquium, which is set for Monday, April 8, 3:45-5:45 pm, in the Everett J. Nelson Commons (347 University Hall).

More information about William H. Fink.

Fink Award Winners
YearFink WinnerPaper Title

Giorgio Sbardolini
Honorable Mention: Jamie Fritz &
Evan Thomas

“Prior and Benacerraf”
“Pragmatic Encroachment and Moral Encroachment”
“Descartes on the Animal Within, and the Animals Without"

2016-2017Evan Woods
Honorable Mention: Jerilyn Tinio
"Simple Constitution and the Explanatory Ambitions of Constitution Theory"
"The Mind’s Figurative Force: On the Compatibility of Mind-Body Interaction and Descartes’s Principle of the Conservation of Motion"
2015-2016Jeremy Weiss
Honorable Mention: Andrew Kissel
"Affect, Love and Importance"
"Debunking Free Will Belief Debunkers"
2014-2015John Hurst
Honorable Mention: Juan Garcia
"An Epistemic Constraint on Intention: Null Hypothesis or Genuinely Binding?"
"Kant's Schematism, Paul Guyer and the Empirical Constraint"
2013-2014Owen King
Honorable Mention: Scott Brown
"Well-being and Life Improvement, Ceteris Paribus"
"Problems for Instantiation as Identity"
2012-2013Kate McFarland
Honorable Mention: Keren Wilson
"De-Semanticizing the Dispute about Disputes of Taste"
"Aristotle on Continuity"
2011-2012Daniel Pearlberg
Eric Snyder
"Modifying the Interventionist Solution to the Problem of Causal Exclusion "
"Gradability and Vagueness"
2010-2011No prize awarded 
2009-2010Nathan Smith"Diachronic Agency and Personal Identity"
2008-2009Salvatore Florio
Honorable Mention: Alisa Wandzilak
"Is Two a Plural Property?"
"Why Reason Might Not Require Means-End Coherence"
2007-2008Dai Heide"Kant's 'Rejected' Alternative"
2006-2007Wesley Cray"Modal realism without overlap (and without counterpart theory either)"
2005-2006Adam Podlaskowski"Rule-Following Without Idealization"
2004-2005William Roche"In Defense of Coherentism: Against the Alternative-Systems Objection and the Isolation Objection"
2003-2004Julian Cole"Linguistic Priority, Metaphysical Dependence and Mathematics"
2002-2003Henry Pratt"Categorization and Interpretation of Art: Intentions or Bust!"
2001-2002Nicholaos Jones"Unification as an Epistemic Virtue"
2000-2001Lee Franklin"Philosophical Reflection and Recollection in the Phaedo"
1999-2000Roy Cook"Vagueness and Mathematical Precision"
1998-1999David Eng"Psychological Realism: A Solution to the Generality Problem"
1997-1998David Merli"Noncognitivism and Moral Epistemology"
1996-1997Joseph Salerno"Revising the Logic of Logical Revision"
1995-1996Keith Korcz"Reasons for Which One Believes"
1994-1995David Lightner"Hume on Inconceivability, Impossibility, and Adequate Ideas"
1993-1994Jill Dieterle"Structuralism and Mathematical Realism: Causal Objections to Ontological Realism"
1992-1993G. Michael Watkins"Dispositionalism, Ostension, and Austerity"
1991-1992Laura Keating"Un-Locke-ing Boyle: Boyle on Primary and Secondary Qualities"
1990-1991Norman Mooradian"False Pleasure in the Philebus"
1989-1990Jody Graham"Room Enough for One: A Solution for Color Incompatability"
1988-1989Dirk Baltzly
Barbara Scholz
"Content and Value"
"Semantic Anti-Realism Without Revision"
1987-1988No prize awarded 
1986-1987Mitch Flower"On the Doctrine of Transcendental Idealism and the Distinction Between Appearances and Things in Themselves"
1985-1986Beth Cohen"Vagueness, Realism, and Classical Logic"
1984-1985Erdinc SayanFunctionalism and the Mental"
1983-1984David Drebushenko"Ideal Theories"
1982-1983Martin Rice" Nihil veri simile nisi aliquid certum est"
1981-1982James Rubino
Clyde Kilgore
"Leibniz and Locke on the Attribution of Innate Knowledge"
"Justice in Original Acquisition"
1980-1981Steven Nuttall"Voluntariness: The Rationale of Criminal Responsibility"
1979-1980Michael Costa"Arnauld, Descartes, and Ideas"