The Annual Sowerby Essay Contest  is a prestigious award recognising an outstanding essay written by a student on an issue relevant to the area at the intersection of Philosophy and Medicine. In 2022, the theme was the puzzle of addiction, and the prize was £500.

The puzzle of addiction consists in asking why when we have an addiction we act against our best interests. As taking drugs, for instance, does not benefit us, it is not clear why we do take drugs unless we feel compelled to do so, or we are inherently irrational.

Our own doctoral student, Reinier Schuur, supervised by Iain Law in the Philosophy Department, was awarded the prize this year for an essay entitled: “The Puzzle of Addiction and Knowing the Good as an Achievement". Reinier argues in the essay that coming to know what is in our best interest is a significant achievement and thus requires overcoming epistemic vices. Acting against our best interests then is not necessarily the result of a compulsion or something inherently irrational.

A video of the awarding of the prize can be found online. We are extremely proud of Reinier's achievement which so wonderfully demonstrates the commitment and quality of the work produced by our graduate students.