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Owen Ware

SSHRC Postdoctoral Prize

SSHRC Postdoctoral Prize: Owen Ware  

“My passion for philosophy is based on the fact that I can explore important life questions—questions I think everyone asks—in a way that demands rigour and clarity of thinking.”

Do people really change for the better? Owen Ware is searching for the answer.

As the 2010 winner of the SSHRC Postdoctoral Prize, Ware is examining philosopher Immanuel Kant’s theory of moral education to better understand how children acquire moral sensibility, and how that process relates to moral change in adults. In short, how do we learn to be “good” as children, and how can we use that same process to change our “bad” behaviour as adults?

“My research is theoretical in character, but it gets at deeper problems,” he explains. “These issues are relevant to society today, and they should resonate and have an impact beyond philosophical circles.”

Already published in several major academic journals, including what some call the most important philosophy journal in the world—the European Journal of Philosophy, Ware is quickly earning a reputation as one of the leading Kant scholars of his generation. He will spend this winter teaching a third-year course on Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason for the University of Toronto’s philosophy department. Then, he plans to join the philosophy department of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) to complete his research under the supervision of Barbara Herman, a leading figure in the field of Kantian ethics.

“I will be working with a world-renowned philosopher, and this is her area of expertise,” he explains. “It’s an opportunity that would not have been possible without the SSHRC fellowship and the prize.”

The SSHRC Postdoctoral Prize is awarded each year to the most outstanding SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowship recipient.