January 20, 2004
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AMHERST, Mass.-Jyl Gentzler, a professor of philosophy at Amherst College, has written an essay on "The Attractions and Delights of Goodness: Some Platonic Reflections on Internalism," which The Philosophical Quarterly at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland has chosen as the winner of its 2003 essay prize. Gentzler's essay will be published in the July 2004 issue of The Philosophical Quarterly and she will receive a cash prize.
The theme of the 2003 contest, "Appropriating the Ancients," was meant to inspire reflection on the ways in which the thoughts of the ancients might contribute to contemporary philosophical debates. Gentzler's essay addressed the question of the nature of prudential value-that is, according to Gentzler, "the value that things have when they are good for you. Most contemporary philosophers assume that prudential value is at least to a certain extent subjective. In this essay, I explore some of our intuitions that account, at least in part, for the current appeal of subjective conceptions of prudential value, and I argue that these intuitions are best explained by an objectivist account of prudential value like Plato's, who claimed, rather cryptically, that goodness was unity."
Gentzler, who has taught at Amherst since 1989, was educated at Bryn Mawr College and Cornell University. She has published widely in ancient philosophy, her area of specialization.