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The Prize for Distinguished Achievement in Social Philosophy, 2023

Sally Haslanger


The second recipient of the Prize in Social Philosophy is Sally Haslanger, Ford Professor of Philosophy and Women & Gender Studies at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The landscape of critical social philosophy, both in North America and a broader global context, has been transformed in fundamental and liberating ways by Haslanger's groundbreaking contributions. In awarding her the prize, the committee recognizes, among numerous other things, the work she has done to advance social philosophy as a discipline by showing that areas of philosophy traditionally conducted without regard to social or political issues—such as metaphysics, epistemology, and the philosophy of language—are both deeply implicated within and have the power to speak to issues of social justice. An incomplete but representative list of her contributions in this regard would include, at least, her articulation of new frameworks for understanding the concept of ideology and its critique; her elaboration of a materialist understanding of the nature of social practices and social structures; her clarification and defense of the notions of social and discursive construction, especially as they pertain to matters of race, gender, disability, and ideology; and her ongoing interrogation of the role that philosophy can play in understanding social struggles and actively promoting progressive social change. These themes have been explored in many publications over the years, most notably in Resisting Reality: Social Construction and Social Critique (2012), her Spinoza Lectures, published as, Critical Theory and Practice (2017), and many other papers, monographs, and publications. We would also like to honor her for her many contributions to the critique and improvement of philosophy as a professional discipline. Therefore, the prize is also in recognition of her role in founding and convening the Women and Philosophy Task Force; her work co-founding PIKSI Boston; as well as the many informal and less easily quantifiable ways that she has devoted her time and energy to supporting new generations of critical social philosophers from diverse and marginalized backgrounds.

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