Kornelsen Essay Prize

Isaak Kornelsen

The Isaak Kornelsen Memorial Undergraduate Essay Prize in Philosophy, to be awarded each year for the best undergraduate student essay written for a University of Alberta undergraduate philosophy course in the award year. To be eligible, students should send a copy of their paper by email in Word format to the the Undergraduate Program Director and provide their name, ID number, as well as the name and number of the course for which the paper was written. Students are allowed to revise their paper prior to submission. Papers should normally not be more than 20 pages double spaced. Honors Theses are not eligible. Limit is one paper per student per year and deadline for submission is May 15 each year. 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 Undergraduate Studies and Teaching Committee. *** For 2024 only, the deadline for submission has been moved to May 29.***

The essay prize has been created in memory of Isaak Kornelsen, a former undergraduate student of philosophy. Isaak died in a tragic traffic accident on August 27, 2012. Isaak was a double major in Philosophy and in Science, Technology, and Society. He was known by his teachers as a gifted and dedicated student. Philosophy Adjunct Professor Nathan Kowalsky describes Isaak as "absolutely outstandingly brilliant" and as "one of those people you just love to hang out with, love to chat with, every time you saw him you just smiled." The members of the Department of Philosophy mourn the passing of Isaak Kornelsen, and extend their wishes and sympathies to Isaak's family and friends. Isaak will be missed by his instructors and fellow students in our department.

This prize was awarded for the first time in 2014.

Past Winners:

  • 2023: Suntie Hienkeo, "Trumping Preemption Does Not Exist"
  • 2022: Jadon Meliefste, "Getting a Grasp on Emptiness: Explicating Nagarjuna’s Theory of Emptiness Within an Epistemological Framework"
  • 2021: Tyler Paetkau, "Degrees of Harm and Legitimacy: Inductive Risk and Epistemically Detrimental Dissent in the Sciences"
  • 2020: Duncan McCallum, “Pacifist or Realist? Augustine on the Ethics of Warfare"       
  • 2019: Jonah Dunch, "Enjoyment, Self-Actualization, and the Good Life: Towards an Interspecific Objective List Theory of Wellbeing"
  • 2018: Jonah Dunch: "Imagining Fictions: Moral Education and Make-Believe in Qalupalik"
  • 2017: Aaron Mazo: "Heidegger in Love: The Lover as Absolute Other"
  • 2016: Christian Degrand, "See My Magic, Virtue Ethics, and Actions"
  • 2015: Trevor Breen, "The Experience of the Saturated Phenomenom"
  • 2014: Michael Lang, "Adaptationism and Pluralism: Accounting for Observation in Evolutionary Methodology"