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Georgia Chandler and Bryan Lee Win Thought Provoking Awards

October 21, 2021

Thanks to a generous donation from Concordia University alumna Charlotte Colbert, the Liberal Arts College and the Department of Philosophy are pleased to announce the winners of the 2021-22 Thought Provoking Award:

Georgia Chandler, BSc student in the Specialization in Biology and Minor in Western Society and Culture programs, is a recipient for her essay titled "Beyond Consequentialist Calculus: COVID-19 Public Policy Requires Mill’s Utilitarianism."

Dr. Matt Barker was one of the readers who recommended the essay for the award. He comments:

Chandler's submission is superb. It is a lucid and sophisticated paper on how pandemic policy-making has aimed for utilitarian ideals, but been based on models in ways that are too crude and simplistic to represent complexities of human well-being, and so have been unable to meet the Utilitarian ideals proposed by John Stuart Mill.

Bryan Lee, BA student in the Major in Western Society and Culture and Major in Philosophy programs, is also a Thought Provoking Award recipient for his equally outstanding essay titled "Justifying a Rawlsian Social Epistemology: Incorporating a Spinozan Model of Belief Acquisition to John Rawls’ Public Reason."

Dr. Barker comments:

Lee's submission was also superb. It's an advanced theoretical paper with important practical implications. It argues that liberal societies of the Rawlsian sort should accommodate empirically documented limitations on human capacities of reasoning, in order to better frame and make decisions on urgent matters of policy disagreement, especially in an age of political polarization, fake news, social media echo chambers, and so on.

The Thought Provoking Award is awarded to the eligible student in a philosophy or Liberal Arts College program who submits the best essay that focuses on a contemporary social trend—such as political or cultural movements or currents—an essay deemed beneficial to public debate. The winners will each receive one scholarship in the amount of $1,800. Congratulations, Georgia and Bryan!

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