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Jaspers Award


The Association for the Advancement of Philosophy and Psychiatry (AAPP) holds an annual competition for students and trainees. Eligibility includes medical students, graduate students in philosophy, psychology and related fields, and residents and fellows in psychiatry.

The Karl Jaspers Award is given for the best paper in the area of philosophy of psychiatry. Entries cannot have been published, nor can they have been submitted or accepted for publication, prior to submission for this award. Resubmissions will not be accepted. Papers may have more than one author but all authors must be eligible for the award. Appropriate topics for the essay include, among others, the conceptual basis of psychiatry as a discipline, the nature of explanation in psychiatry, the mind-body relation as related to psychiatric understanding, psychiatric methodology, psychiatric nosology and diagnostic issues, epistemology, philosophy of science, philosophical aspects of the history of psychiatry, psychodynamic, hermeneutic and phenomenological approaches, and psychiatric ethics. Papers must have relevance for psychiatric theory, clinical practice or psychiatric research. Papers on general topics in philosophy of mind or cognitive science without relevance to psychiatry, broadly understood, are not appropriate for this award. Similarly, clinical reports or reflections that do not advance philosophical understanding are also inappropriate entries for this competition. 

Winning submissions will be offered publication, following appropriate review and editing to meet journal guidelines, in the electronic version of Philosophy, Psychiatry, & Psychology. The home universities or training programs of the award winners will be notified of the outcome. In addition, the winning entry will be announced at our AAPP Annual Meeting. The award carries a cash prize of $350 and recognition in AAPP publications.

Criteria considered in judging the entries include:

  1. Demonstrated or potential relevance to psychiatric theory, research, or clinical practice 
  2. Novelty and/or significance of the contribution 
  3. Quality of argumentation
  4. Quality and clarity of writing

The deadline for submission for entries for the 2022 Karl Jaspers Award is Sunday, December 12, 2021. Also:

  • Each submission must be between 3000 and 7500 words in length, excluding footnotes and bibliographies.
  • Each submission must include a word count.
  • Each submission must be in PDF format.
  • Each submission must be ready for blind review and not contain the author’s name or other information what will make the author identifiable.
  • Each entrant must also send separately, in PDF or Word format, an explanation of her or his current career status and eligibility to enter the competition. In cases where the work is part of a project undertaken with others, entrants should also add explanations of the contributions of advisors or others to the work submitted. 
  • Submissions that do not meet the requirements will be rejected without being considered.

Please send submissions to Dr. G. Scott Waterman ( 

For information on membership in the Association for the Advancement of Philosophy and Psychiatry, please see


Previous Recipients:

2021 Winner: Anne-Marie Gagné-Julien, University of Quebec at Montreal: “Dysfunction and the Definition of Mental Disorder in the DSM”

2021 Honorable Mention: Joseph Houlders, University of Birmingham: “Objective Thought and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder”

2020 Winner:  Alexander Pereira, University of Sydney: “Specific Phobias are an Ideal Psychiatric Kind”

2020 Honorable Mention:  Harriet Fagerberg, King’s College London: “Mind, Brain and Mental Disorder: What’s Wrong with the Computer Analogy?”

2020 Honorable Mention:  Sahanika Ratnayake, University of Cambridge: “It’s Been Utility All Along: An Alternate Understanding of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and The Depressive Realism Hypothesis”

2019: Phoebe Friesen, post-doctoral fellow at the Ethox Centre of the Nuffield Department of Population Health at the University of Oxford. “Expanding Outcome Measures in Schizophrenia Research: Does RDoC Pose a Threat?” Forthcoming in Philosophy, Psychiatry, & Psychology.

2018: Awais Aftab, Case Western Reserve University/University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Cente,  “Social Misuse of Disorder Designation: Exploring Dysfunction and Harm-Based Conceptual Defenses.” Published in Psychiatric Times, May 8, 2019.

Honorable mention also goes to Stephen Gadsby, Department of Philosophy, Monash University,  “Anorexia Nervosa, Delusional Beliefs and Overvalued Ideas.”

2017 Will Davies, University of Birmingham, UK, “Social Explanation in Psychiatry.”

2016 jointly awarded to

Sam Fellowes, University of Lancaster, UK. “RDoC should not always see symptoms as independent of psychiatric categories.”


Karen McCarthy, Emory University. “Maurice Merleau-Ponty and the Feeling of Being One’s Self.”

2015 Hane Maung, ‘To What Do Diagnostic Terms Refer?’

2014 Elizabeth Pienkos, Psy.M. “Intersubjectivity and its role in schizophrenic experience.”

2011 Melissa Bui, M.D.  ‘Complexity within Psychiatry’

2010 Ben Lewis, M.D. “Adopting the Psychiatric Stance Mental Illness in Dennettian Context”

1995 David Brendel, M.D. “The Embodiment of the Mind from Hegel to Neurophysiology”

1993 Nassir Ghaemi, M.D. (and Godehard Oepen) “Mind-brain theories and their discontents”

1992 Mark Erikson, M.D. “Rethinking Oedipus: An Evolutionary Perspective.”

1991 jointly awarded to

Larry Davidson, M.D. later published as Davidson, L. & Strauss, J.S. “Beyond the biopsychosocial model: Integrating disorder, health and recovery.” Psychiatry: Interpersonal and Biological Processes, 1995, 58: 44-55.


Dan J. Stein, M.D. “Philosophy and the DSM” Published in Comprehensive Psychiatry, Vol. 32, No. 5 (September/October), 1991: pp 404-415