APA Book Prize

The Sanders Book Prize of the American Philosophical Association.

Current Competition Details

The Marc Sanders Foundation is pleased to have partnered with the American Philosophical Association to award an annual prize for the best book in philosophy of mind, metaphysics, or epistemology that engages the analytic tradition. The book will be in English and must have been published in the previous five year period. For details about the nominations process and deadline see the APA Sanders Book Prize page.

The winner of the Sanders Book Prize will be selected by a five-member committee constituted by the chair of the APA’s committee on lectures, publications, and research. Books must be nominated by at least one member of the APA and all nominated authors must be members of the APA. Authors and/or publishers shall provide copies of the book for review by the selection committee (electronic copies are acceptable).

The author of the winning book will receive $7,000 from the Marc Sanders Foundation. The inaugural prize was awarded during the prize reception at the Pacific Division meeting of the APA in 2014, and after that, annually at the Eastern Division.


Award Winners

2020 Winner

Dr. Sarah Moss, University of Michigan, has been awarded the 2020 Sanders book prize for her book: Probabilistic Knowledge

(Oxford University Press)

Sarah Moss’s Probabilistic Knowledge is a philosophically creative work that moves canonically-significant conversations  forward in epistemology and philosophy of language, with important and interesting applications in philosophy of mind and ethics. The book contends that the role propositional content plays in epistemology should be supplanted by probabilistic content, with the result that knowledge is constituted by probabilistic epistemic claims and so is justified by richly-pragmatic means. A further distinctive feature of the book is its engagement with a vast and diverse literature.

The selection committee has also awarded honorable mention to Dr. Declan Smithies (Ohio State University) for his book, The Epistemic Role of Consciousness (Oxford University Press).

2019 Winner

Douglas Edwards, Utica College

The Metaphysics of Truth

Oxford University Press

Douglas Edwards develops his own version of truth pluralism, making contributions along the way to discussions of differences in the role of predicates and the connection with ontological pluralism. The book is philosophically nuanced, rigorous and systematic in its treatment. It also stood out as interesting to a broad range of philosophical topics and discussions.

The selection committee has also awarded honorable mention to Carrie Figdor (University of Iowa) for the book Pieces of Mind (Oxford University Press) and to Susanna Schellenberg (Rutgers University) for the book The Unity of Perception (Oxford University Press).

2018 Winner

Kris McDaniel, Syracuse

The Fragmentation of Being

Oxford University Press

The book accepts that there are many kinds of beings, but asks whether there also many kinds of being. Do some objects enjoy more being or existence than other objects? Most contemporary metaphysicians would answer “no” to each of these questions. But Kris McDaniel carefully examines a wide range of reasons for answering “yes”. In doing so, he connects the questions of being with many important metaphysical topics, including substance and accident, time and persistence, the nature of ontological categories, possibility and necessity, presence and absence, persons and value, ground and consequence, and essence and accident.

The selection committee has also awarded honorable mention to Donald Ainslie (University of Toronto) for his book, Hume’s True Scepticism (Oxford University Press).


2017 Winner

Amie Thomasson, Dartmouth

Ontology Made Easy

Oxford University Press

In this volume Amie Thomasson argues that hard ontology faces an entirely different challenge, which remains even if the threat of quantifier variance can be avoided. The challenge comes from the ‘easy approach to ontology’: a view that is arguably the heir to Carnap’s own position. The book aims to develop “the easy approach” to ontological questions, where ontological questions can be answered by undertaking trivial inferences from uncontroversial premises, making prolonged disputes about such questions out of place.

An honorable mention goes to Elliott Sober (University of Wisconsin–Madison) for his book, Ockham’s Razors: A User’s Manual (Cambridge University Press).

2016 Winner

Berislav Marušić, Brandeis

Evidence and Agency: Norms of Belief for Promising and Resolving

Oxford University Press

Berislav Marušić explores the question of how we, as agents, should weigh evidence when assessing our future actions. We frequently make promises or resolutions despite evidence that carrying out these actions will be difficult. In doing so, our resolutions and promises seem irrational or insincere. Marušić argues that, provided it is important to us to do something, we can rationally believe that we will do it, even if our belief goes against the evidence.

2015 Winner

Diana Raffman, University of Toronto

Unruly Words: A Study of Vague Language

Oxford University Press(Oxford University Press)

Diana Raffman proposes a new theory on vagueness that is genuinely semantic (non-epistemic) but preserves bivalence.

Unruly Words is a pleasure to read and it provides plenty of material for thought and discussion. I strongly recommend it for anyone involved or interested in the philosophical debate on vagueness.”–Jonas Akerman, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

An honorable mention goes to Dana Nelkin (University of California, San Diego), Making Sense of Freedom and Responsibility (Oxford University Press).

2014 Winner

L. A. Paul, Yale University and Ned Hall, Harvard University

Causation: A User’s Guide

Oxford University Press

Paul and Hall guide the reader through the most important philosophical treatments of causation, negotiating the terrain by taking a set of examples as landmarks. Using a methodological principle based on the close examination of potential counterexamples, they clarify the central themes of the debate about causation, and cover questions about causation involving omissions or absences, preemption and other species of redundant causation, and the possibility that causation is not transitive.

2013 Winner

Alfred Mele, William H. and Lucyle T. Werkmeister Professor of Philosophy at Florida State University

Effective Intentions: The Power of Conscious Will

Oxford University Press

Effective Intentions is indisputably the most careful and sophisticated discussion to date of the relevance of neuroscience for our understanding of willing, and especially, whether that willing is free or conscious. It is necessary reading for anyone interested in the neuroscience of agency and free will, and it deserves to be widely read by both philosophers and neuroscientists.”–Manuel Vargas, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

Contact Us

The Marc Sanders Foundation would be happy to hear from you. Please feel free to contact us (e-mail is preferred) about any questions you might have.


Barry Lam

Copyright 2019 Marc Sanders Foundation