8th Annual Oxford Uehiro Prize in Practical Ethics

Annual Oxford Uehiro Prize in Practical Ethics OUC purple and white logo

We’re Going National: Oxford Uehiro Prize in Practical Ethics

The Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics is pleased to announce the national roll-out of the Oxford Uehiro Prize in Practical Ethics. 

All Graduate and undergraduate students (full and part-time) currently enrolled at any UK university, in any subject, are invited to enter the Oxford Uehiro Prize in Practical Ethics by submitting an essay of up to 2000 words on any topic relevant to practical ethics.  Two undergraduate papers and two graduate papers will be shortlisted from those submitted to go forward to a public presentation and discussion, where the winner of each category will be selected.  The Judging panel for the final in 2022 will be confirmed in due course.

Practical ethics is concerned with what we should do in any given situation. It reflects on personal, professional, policy, and social choices and structures and holds them up to scrutiny. It may balance or prioritise different values and interests. Good practical ethics relies on in-depth understanding of the relevant real-world facts and issues: it is often interdisciplinary. There are many different approaches to practical ethics, and different ethical theories that could apply. The prize is open to students in any discipline.  The judges are looking for high-quality arguments. You won’t be expected to display any knowledge of philosophy or ethical theory, although it may help construct your argument. The judges are interested in the ethical problem or question that you identify and a clearly argued approach to addressing it. How do you get to your solution, and why is it the right course of action? Please see below for examples of past finalists and winners.

The winner from each category will receive a prize of £300, and the runner up £100. Revised versions of the two winning essays will be considered for publication in the Journal of Practical Ethics.

To enter, please submit your written papers by the end of Tuesday 15th February 2022 to rocci.wilkinson@philosophy.ox.ac.uk. Finalists will be notified on Tuesday 22nd February of selection. The public presentation will take place in 9th Week, Hilary term 2022, on Tuesday 15th March, from 5:30pm. Please save this presentation date, as you will need to attend if selected as a finalist.  

Detailed instructions

Stage 1: The Essay

The essay of up to 2000 words may cover any topic relevant to practical ethics. The question to be addressed should be stated clearly in bold at the outset. The focus of the marking will be on the quality and originality of your argument. References are therefore allowed but are not required.  The essay can draw upon existing published work but needs to be sufficiently original for it to be eligible for consideration of publication in the Journal of Practical Ethics.

Submissions should be prepared for blind review by our assessors. Please remove any identifying information from your manuscript (both as a pdf and a word document) and provide a title sheet on a separate file with the title of your essay, your name and contact details, including email. Please include a word count. Please note that essays exceeding 2000 words cannot be considered. Footnotes [and references] are not included in the word count, however footnotes should be kept to a minimum. All assessors will be blinded to the identity of contributors and software to detect plagiarism will be employed. 

Assessors will be asked to divide their marks to give 10% on the quality/originality of question posed; 40% originality of argument; and 50% quality of the argument. Scores and feedback will not be provided. The exception to this is the two winners if their papers are invited to be submitted to the Journal of Practical Ethics.

Stage 2: Presentation Event

The best two papers from each section will go to the final round, the final presentation event. We invite the public, all entrants, friends and family to join us at the final presentation. which in 2022 will be a hybrid event, before a panel of judges and the audience, the finalists will be asked to give a 10 minute presentation expanding on the key ideas of their paper. This will be followed by a 5 minute Q&A.

The panel will make a final judgement based on 75% weighting on the quality of the paper, and 25% from the presentation and question and answer session. 
 
After the presentation we invite the audience to join the finalists and judges at a drinks reception, during which the panel will announce the winners. Following which the finalists are invited to join the judging panel at a celebration dinner to be held in one of the Oxford colleges.

(Finalists from outside of Oxford will have their travel and accommodation provided to allow them to attend this event in person.)

Stage 3: The Festival of Arguments

The two winners from the prize will be invited to take part in an online Q&A, as part of the Oxford Uehiro Festival of Arguments, which will take place the following week, w/c March 19th 2022.  

The Prize

The winner of each category will be awarded a prize of £300. The runner up will win £100.

All finalists, as well as papers that receive an honorable mention, will also be considered for publication on the blog: Practical Ethics in the News. Winners and shortlisted entrants will be announced on the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics’ website and notified by email. 
 

Line art Oxford Skyline at sunset. Adapted from work by Bob Comix

'Oxford Skyline silhouette' adapted from work by Bob Comix under CC BY 4.0 | outline and background


 

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Congratulations to our Winners and Runners up in the Oxford Uehiro Prize in Practical Ethics 2021

Please join us in congratulating all of the finalists in this final for the Oxford Uehiro Prize in Practical Ethics, and in particular our winners, Imogen Rivers and Lily Moore-Eissenberg.

As the UK continues to be in lockdown due to the pandemic, the 7th Annual Oxford Uehiro Prize in Practical Ethics was again held as a Zoom webinar event. The Finalists in each category presented their ideas to an online audience and responded to a short Q&A as the final round in the competition.

When: Wednesday 10th March, 5pm – 6:30 pm.

Undergraduate Category

Winner: Imogen Rivers: Against Making a Difference

Runner Up:Tanae Rao: Why, if at all, is it unethical for universities to prioritise applicants related to their alumni

Honourable Mention: Edward Lamb: ‘Rational Departure’: What Does Stoicism Reveal About Contemporary Attitudes Towards Suicide?

Graduate Category

Winner: Lily Moore-Eissenberg: Causing People to Exist and Compensating Existing People. Does the nonidentity problem undermine the case for reparations?

Joint Runners Up: Rebecca L Clark: Should Feminists endorse a Universal Basic Income  &

Oshmita Ray: May the use of violent civil disobedience be justified as a response to institutional racism?

Honourable Mention: Jules Desai: Is there a moral difference between Corpses biological and artificial?

Congratulations to our Winners and Runners up in the Oxford Uehiro Prize in Practical Ethics 2020

Please join us in congratulating all of the finalists in this unique final for the Oxford Uehiro Prize in Practical Ethics, and in particular our winners, Eric Sheng and Maya Krishnan.

In an Oxford Uehiro Centre first the 6th Annual Oxford Uehiro Prize in Practical Ethics was held as a Zoom webinar event. The Finalists in each category presented their ideas to an online audience and responded to a short Q&A as the final round in the competition.

When: Mar 19, 2020 05:30 PM London

Topic: 6th Annual Oxford Uehiro Prize in Practical Ethics

Undergraduate Category

Winner: Eric Sheng: Why is virtual wrongdoing morally disquieting, insofar as it is?

Runner UpToby S. Lowther: Can science ethically make use of data which was gathered by unethical means?

Honourable Mention: Angelo Ryu: What, if anything, is wrong about algorithmic administration?

Graduate Category

Winner: Maya Krishnan: Can it be wrong for victims to report crimes?

Runner Up: Matthew John Minehan: Post-Sally and the minimally conscious mollusc

Honourable Mention: Brian Wong: An account of attitudinal duties towards injustice (Graduate)

Honourable Mention: Tess Johnson: Enhancing the Critique: What’s wrong with the collectivist critique and what can the relational approach contribute? (Graduate)

Honourable Mention: Tena Thau: Effective Altruism and Intersectional Feminism (Graduate)

Congratulations to our Winners and Runners up in the Oxford Uehiro Prize in Practical Ethics 2019

The 5th Annual Oxford Uehiro Prize in Practical Ethics Final Presentation and Reception

HT19 Week 8, Wednesday 6th March, 4:30 – 5:45 pm.

The Presentation was held in St Luke’s Chapel, Radcliffe Observatory Quarter, Oxford OX2 6HT, followed by a drinks reception until 7:00 pm.

Undergraduate Category

Winner: Harry Lloyd with his essay “What, if anything, is objectionable about gentrification?”

Runner Up: Angelo Ryu with his essay “Do Jurors Have a Moral Obligation to Avoid Deadlock?”

Graduate Category

Winner: Tena Thau with her essay “Love Drugs and Expanding the Romantic Circle”

Joint Runners Up: Miles Kellerman with his essay “The Ethical Dilemma of Disclosing Offshore Accounts” and Brian Wong with his essay “Should We Contact Uncontacted Peoples?: A Case for a Samaritan Rescue Principle”

Honourable Mention: Maximilian Kiener: “Consent and Causation”

Honourable Mention: Michelle Lee:  “Practical Ethics of Machine Learning and Discriminatory Lending”

Honourable Mention: Robert Underwood:  “Killing to Communicate”

Congratulations to our Winners and Runners up in the Oxford Uehiro Prize in Practical Ethics 2018

The 4th Annual Oxford Uehiro Prize in Practical Ethics Final Presentation and Reception

HT18 Week 6, Thursday 22nd February, 4.00 – 5.50 pm.

The Presentation was held in Seminar Room 1, Oxford Martin School (corner of Catte St and Broad St), followed by a drinks reception in Seminar room 2 until 7:00 pm.

Undergraduate Category

Winner: Jonathan Latimer with his essay ‘Why we Should Genetically ‘Disenhance’ Animals Used in Factory Farms’

Runner Up: Brian Wong with his essay ‘On Relational Injustice: Could Colonialism Have Been Wrong Even if it Had Introduced More Benefits Than Harms?’

Graduate Category

Winner: Miles Unterreiner with his essay ‘The Paradox of the Benefiting Samaritan’

Runner Up: James Kirkpatrick with his essay ‘When is Sex With Conjoined Twins Permissible?’

Honorable Mention: Tena Thau with her essay ‘Should Cryonics be Compulsory?’

Congratulations to our Winners and Runners up in the Oxford Uehiro Prize in Practical Ethics 2017

The 3rd Annual Oxford Uehiro Prize in Practical Ethics Final Presentation and Reception

HT17 Week 7, Wednesday 1st March, 4.00 – 5.50 pm.

The Presentation was held in Seminar Room 1, Oxford Martin School (corner of Catte St and Broad St), followed by a drinks reception in Seminar room 2 until 7:00 pm.

Undergraduate Category

Winner: Paul de Font-Reaulx, with his essay ‘What Makes Discrimination Wrong?’

Runner up: Andreas Masvie with his essay ‘The Ethical Dilemma of Youth Politics’.

Honourable Mention: Isabel Canfield: ‘Secondary Intention in Euthanasia’.

Graduate Category

Winner: Romy Eskens with her essay Is Sex With Robots rape? On the Permissibility of Cosentless Sex With Robots’.

Runner up: Jonas Haeg with his essay ‘Should We Completely Ban “Political Bots”?’

Honourable Mention: Simon-Pierre Chevarie-Cossette: Prostitution: You Can’t Have Your Cake and Sell It.’

Honourable Mention: Fergus Peace: ‘Global Warming and Vegetarianism: What should I do, when what I do makes no difference?’

Honourable Mention: Rebecca Buxton: ‘In It To Win It: Is Prize Giving Bad for Philosophy?’

Congratulations to our Winners and Runners up in the Oxford Uehiro Prize in Practical Ethics 2016

The 2nd Annual Oxford Uehiro Prize in Practical Ethics Final Presentation and Reception

HT16 Week 7, Wednesday 2nd March, 4.00 – 5.50 pm.

The Presentation was held in Seminar Room 1, Oxford Martin School (corner of Catte St and Broad St), followed by a drinks reception in Seminar room 2 until 6.45 pm.

Undergraduate Category

Joint Winners:  Carolina Flores Henrique, with her essay ‘Should feminists in rich countries shift their focus to international development?’ & Thomas Sittler with his essay ‘How should vegetarians actually live? A reply to Xavier Cohen’.

Honourable Mention: Mahmoud Ghanem “Should we take moral advice from our computers?” 

Honourable Mention: Raphael Hogarth “Are offensive jokes permissible if they’re funny?” 

Graduate Category

Winner: Joseph Bowen with his essay ‘Necessity and liability’.

Runner up: Benjamin Lange with his essay ‘Should you switch to an altruistic career?’

Honourable Mention: Sofiane Croisier “Brexit and morality” 

Honourable Mention: Benjamin Koons “Justice of punitive war” 

Honourable Mention: Areti Theofilopuolou “Is graffiti morally permissible?” 

Honourable Mention: Carissa VelizOn holding ethicists to higher moral standards” 

Congratulations to our Winners and Runners up in the Oxford Uehiro Prize in Practical Ethics 2015

The 1st Annual Oxford Uehiro Prize in Practical Ethics Final Presentation and Reception

HT15 Week 8, Thursday 12th March 2015 4:30 – 5:50pm.

The Presentation was held in Seminar Room 1, Oxford Martin School (corner of Catte St and Broad St), followed by a drinks reception in Seminar room 2 until 6.45 pm.

Undergraduate Category

Winner: Xavier Cohen with his essay: How Should Vegans Live?

Runner Up: Dillon Bowen with his essay “The Economics of Morality”

Honourable Mention: Benedict Hardwick: Can a Contractarian Rationally Donate to Charity?

Honourable Mention: Fionn O’Donovan: In light of the value of personal relationships, is immortality desirable?

Graduate Category:

Winner: Jessica Laimann with her essay:  Is prohibition of breast implants a good way to undermine harmful and unequal social norms?

Runner Up: Miles Unterreiner with his essay “Going Viral: Contagion and the Limits of Free Speech”

Honourable Mention: C’zar Bernstein: Arguing About Guns

Honourable Mention: Catrin Gibson:   If one is genuinely concerned with the welfare of non-human animals, should one seriously consider the disenhancement of intensively-farmed livestock as a possible method of reducing animal suffering?

Honourable Mention: Callum Hackett: Giving Ourselves Away.

Podcast of the final presentations is available here: http://media.philosophy.ox.ac.uk/uehiro/HT15_essay_prize.mp3