Kessler Essay Prize

Anna Kessler Memorial Graduate Essay Prize in Philosophy

The Anna Kessler Memorial Graduate Essay Prize in Philosophy, to be awarded each year for the best graduate student essay written for a University of Alberta graduate philosophy course in the award year. Candidates for the prize will be nominated by their course instructor, and the adjudication of the award will be supervised by the Department's Placement and Awards Committee.

Anna Kessler

The essay prize has been created in memory of Anna Kessler, a former graduate student in the department. Anna Kessler was working towards her PhD in Philosophy when she passed away suddenly in March 2005. Her research interests included Kant, Kierkegaard, and Ethics, which helped inform her brilliant reviews of recording artists, such as Nick Cave, in See Magazine. Anna’s paper “Faith, Doubt, and the Imagination: Nick Cave and the Divine-Human Encounter” appeared in Call Me the Seeker: Listening to Religion in Popular Music, edited by Michael J. Gilmour (New York: Continuum), published July 2005.

On July 21, 2006, a dedicatory tree was planted and a bench installed in Anna's memory on the south lawn of the Humanities Centre.  Anna's PhD degree was granted posthumously at the November 2005 convocation.

To be eligible, students must send a copy of their paper by email in Word format to the Chair of the Placement and Awards Committee. Limit is one paper per student per year and deadline for submission is May 15 each year. All philosophy graduate students can submit, and papers need not have been written for a class. Normally, papers will be  no longer than 25 pages double-spaced (8000 words). Exceptionally, course instructors can also nominate a paper which has not been submitted by the student if they think it is especially worthy. The adjudication of the award is supervised by the Placement and Awards Committee

This prize was awarded for the first time in 2014.




Past Winners:

  • 2018: Taro Okamura, "Hume on the Inertness of Reason”

  • 2017: Roxane Noël, “A Solution to the Non-Identity Problem: Contractualism and Care”

  • 2016: Peter Andes, “Sidgwick’s Dualism of Practical Reason, Evolutionary Debunking, and Moral Psychology”

  • 2015: Vladimir Dukić, “Scotus on Individuating Difference and the Foundations of Knowledge”

  • 2014: Vladimir Dukić, “Conatus as the Principle of Individuation in Spinoza’s Ethicsand Joshua St. Pierre, "Malebranche and Bodily Errors"