Fink Prize

The Philosophy Department annually solicits submissions from its graduate students for the Fink Prize. This is an award of $1,000 for philosophical work of genuine distinction, and it is intended to acknowledge unusual accomplishment on the part of one of our students. The department reserves the right not to award the prize in a year in which none of the essays submitted are judged to be sufficiently meritorious. Essays on any philosophical topic are eligible for the award.


The Fink Prize is awarded in recognition of genuinely accomplished work on the part of our graduate students, work of the kind that goes considerably beyond the level necessary for successful completion of the course requirements in our graduate program.

Essays that are worthy of the prize would really stand out if submitted in a graduate seminar; they are the kinds of essays that one might reasonably think of submitting for publication in a reputable journal of philosophical research. Sometimes a prize-winning paper might be identical with a paper that was actually submitted in a graduate seminar at Berkeley. But more typically, a paper that is worthy of the prize will start life as a good (A-level) seminar paper, and then be revised extensively, in light of comments from or discussion with the seminar instructor. It is presumably only rarely the case that a paper that was originally written for an upper-division undergraduate course would be a good candidate for the prize. (In these respects, again, the standard of near-publishability might be a useful one to keep in mind.)

Submissions should not exceed thirty pages in length, and the author’s name should appear only on a detachable title page.

Recent Fink Prize Winners

Year Winner Title
2017 Antonia Peacocke How do you know when you know yourself well?
2016 Peter Epstein Shape Perception in a Relativistic Universe
2015 Jeff Kaplan The Internal Point of View
2014 Alex Kerr Perspective & Spatial Experience
2013 Ethan Jerzak Non-Classical Knowledge
2012 Ethan Jerzak Liars, Propositions, & Contexts
2011 Mike Caie Doxastic Indeterminacy
2010 Andy Engen The Reactive Sentiments & the Justification of Punishment
2009 James Stazicker Attention, Visual Consciousness, & Indeterminacy
2009 George Tsai Liberal Universalism & How We Understand the Past
2008 John Schwenkler Space, Objects, and Object-Spaces: Rethinking a priority
2007 Markus Kohl Substancehood & Subjecthood in Aristotle’s Categories
2006 Kristina Gehrman Phronesis and Absorbed Coping: Is Practical Excellence in the Space of Reasons
2006 Berislav Marusic Self-Knowledge Gambit
2005 Mike Titelbaum When are Indexical Beliefs Relevant?
2004 No Winner
2003 Suzanne Obdrzalek Living in Doubt: Carneades’ Pithanon Reconsidered
2002 Peter Hanks
2001 Elizabeth Camp
2001 Eddie Cushman

Founding language

“The William H. Fink Prize in Philosophy provides assistance to deserving graduate students with expressed majors in philosophy enrolled at the University of California, Berkeley. The Prize was established to encourage top quality philosophical research and writing on the part of the philosophy graduate students.”