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Robert Papazian Essay Competition

International Journal of Philosophical Studies

Submissions should not be under consideration for publication else- where and should not be submitted to any other journal until the outcome of the competition is known.

All submitted papers will be evaluated, in the first instance, by the journal’s editorial board. The shortlisted papers will be judged by external referee(s). The jury will evaluate the entries on the originality of the paper, its engagement with the announced topic, the contribution it makes to scholarship in the field,  the quality of the argumentation and its conceptual clarity.

The decision of the jury will be final. The jury reserves the right to award no prize at all if submitted material is not of an appropriate standard.

Runner-up papers will be considered for publication in IJPS.

About the prize

The prize is established in memory of a young man executed for his ideas and political ideals. The winning entry receives a cash prize of €1500, publication in the journal, and promotion on the journal’s Taylor & Francis website. 

Robert Papazian was born in an Armenian family in Tehran, Iran in 1954. He studied Politics and International Relations at École des relations internationales in Paris. Like many other Iranian political activists abroad, Robert returned to Iran in the summer of 1978, during the last months of the uprising against the Shah, to join the revolution. Subsequent to the establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran, he continued his activities in Kurdistan as a political and theoretical instructor to a left wing opposition group. He was arrested in Tehran in February 1982. 

In prison, Robert did not have access to a lawyer and was denied visits by friends and family members. Throughout interrogations in Evin prison, he remained steadfast in his ideals and refused to co-operate with the authorities. It is known through surviving prisoners that he also helped others to be strong and defiant.

Robert Papazian was executed along with a large number of other political prisoners in July 1982.  He was buried anonymously in the mass graves of the Khavaran cemetery in the outskirts of Tehran. His parting words to fellow-prisoners were: "It's not the number of years that counts but the effect of one's life and death on others... Life in a broader sense continues…"

The annual prize of €1500 is sponsored by the Papazian family.

Scholarly essays from all philosophical approaches – analytic, continental, and historical – dealing with the topic of vulnerability in its moral, political, and social forms and contexts are now invited.

Word limit: 8000–10,000 words, including notes and references. Closing date for submissions: 1 September 2019.

Please submit your paper by email directly to Professor Maria Baghramian at [email protected],  using the subject line IJPS Vulnerability

Make sure that the essay is modified for double blind review and that it has an abstract.

International Journal of Philosophical Studies

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Prize Winner

The winning essay of the 2019 Robert Papazian Prize is  “Matters of trust as matters of attachment security” by Andrew Kirton (University of Leeds). Dr Kirton receives a prize of €1500 made available by the Papazian family.  His article will be published as the lead paper of the 2020  Special Issue of IJPS, Volume 28, Issue 5, December 2020, on  theme of Vulnerability, 

The winner of the Special PEriTiA Prize of €1500,  made available by UCD Centre for Ethics in Public Life to mark its Horizon 2020 Project.  Policy, Expertise and Trust in Action, was “Vulnerability in Social Epistemic Networks”. The authors of this collaborative paper are  

Emily Sullivan (EU Eindhoven)
Max Sondag (TU Eindhoven)
Ignaz Rutter (Universität Passau)
Wouter Meulemans  (TU Eindhoven)
Scott Cunningham (University of Strathclyde)
Bettina Speckmann (TU Eindhoven)
Mark Alfano  (Macquarie University & Delft University of Technology)

At the request of the winners in this category , the prize of €1500  has been donated to vaccine charity GAVI (https://www.gavi.org/). Gavi -  Global Vaccine Alliance, -brings together public and private sectors with the shared goal of creating equal access to new and underused vaccines for children living in the world’s poorest countries.

A special commendation and a prize of €500 euro, made available by UCD Centre for Ethics in Public Life,  was awarded to Dr Paul Giladi (Manchester Metropolitan University) for his essay “The Agent in Pain: Alienation and Discursive Abuse”.

Other  finalist entries in the competition were 

“Epistemic Vulnerability”  by Casey Rebecca Johnson (University of Idaho)

“From Vulnerability to Precarity: Examining the Moral Foundations of Care Ethics” by Sarah Clark Miller (Penn State University)

 “Expressive Vulnerabilities”  by Joe Larios (Emory University)

The winning and finalist essays, as well as a small number of papers commissioned by the editors, will appear in IJPS, Volume 28, Issue 5, December 2020. 

Previous winners


The International Journal of Philosophical Studies is pleased to announce that the  overall winner of the 2018 IJPS Robert Papazian essay competition was Monika Betzler (LMU Munich) with an essay on ‘The Relational Value of Empathy’. The winner of the special early career Robert Papazian Essay Prize was Mark Fagiano (University of  Central Florida, Orlando), with the essay ‘Relational Empathy’.

The special issue of IJPS, on the 2018 competition theme of empathy has now been published.  



  1. First Prize:  ​Paul Faulkner (Sheffield)
    Entry title​: ​"Giving the Benefit of the Doubt"
    Prize of €1500 and publication as lead article in the Special Issue on Trust in IJPS
  2. Second Prize​: ​Anthony Booth, (​University of Sussex)​
    Entry Title: "Trust in the Guise of Belief"
    Prize of ​€750 (​Funded by WEXD Research Project​) and publication in the Special Issue on Trust inIJPS
  3. Third Prize:​ Fay Niker, (The Center for Ethics in Society, Stanford University) and Laura Specker Sullivan (Harvard Center for Bioethics). ​
    Entry title "Trusting Relationships and the Ethics of Interpersonal Action
    Prize of ​€500​ (​​Funded by WEXD Research Project​) and publication in the Special Issue on Trust inIJPS

All the finalists' essays ​ will also ​be published in Volume​ 2​6​, Issue 2 of the International Journal of Philosophical Studies.