Philip Mack ’10 Wins Philosophy Prize

An interest in a wide range of topics and a serendipitous enrollment in a different kind of seminar have led to Philip Mack ’10 winning the most recent American Philosophical Association’s Essay Prize in Latin American Thought.

The paper which won Mack the prize was “Should a Concept of Truth be attributed to Nahuatl Thought? Preserving ‘The Colonial Difference’ between Concepts of the West and Nahua Philosophy,” which he spent 10 months completing.

Although the prize is structured to be awarded annually, no prize had been awarded in the two years prior to Mack’s win. The winning essay is chosen via blind review by members of a subcommittee of the APA’s committee on Hispanics.

“I was honored to receive the prize,” Mack says. “It’s a good motivator for me insofar as it’s nice to see my hard work recognized.”

Mack is a second-year doctoral student of philosophy at Marquette University. He became interested in the Latin American subject when he took a seminar in Latin American philosophy with Dr. Grant Silva — who had won the APA’s essay prize in 2009. “I took the course on a complete whim,” Mack says. “It turns out this was a serendipitous choice. It was during our time reading Aztec thought that I began writing the paper I submitted for the prize.”

At Ripon, Mack majored in philosophy and minored in art history. He received his master’s degree in philosophy from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. “I’ll soon be writing a qualifying paper to move on to my Ph.D. candidacy,” Mack says.

His current research interests include American pragmatism, Latin American philosophy and the philosophy of race and racism. A current project “is concerned with whether racism can be defined and, if it can, what might stand as a satisfactory definition,” he says.

He also is teaching a course about logic at Marquette, and he will be teaching a course about human nature in the spring. “I’ll apply for jobs as a philosophy professor,” he says. “This may sound impossibly sentimental, but I would someday like to teach at a small liberal arts college like Ripon — Ripon, itself, would be a real kick!”

Emily Mengert ’15
Marion, Wisconsin

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