JMC Fellow Dustin Sebell has been awarded the Debla Winthrop Award for Excellence in Political Science for his first book, The Socratic Turn: Knowledge of Good and Evil in an Age of Science.
This award is given annually for the best first publication in political science.
Dustin Sebell is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Government at Harvard University.
“The Socratic Turn addresses the question of whether we can acquire genuine knowledge of good and evil, right and wrong. Reputedly, Socrates was the first philosopher to make the attempt. But Socrates was a materialistic natural scientist in his youth, and it was only much later in life—after he had rejected materialistic natural science—that he finally turned, around the age of forty, to the examination of ordinary moral and political opinions, or to moral-political philosophy so understood.
“Through a consideration of Plato’s account of Socrates’ intellectual development, and with a view to relevant works of the pre-Socratics, Xenophon, Aristotle, Hesiod, Homer, and Aristophanes, Dustin Sebell reproduces the course of thought that carried Socrates from materialistic natural science to moral-political philosophy. By doing so, he seeks to recover an all but forgotten approach to the question of justice, one still worthy of being called scientific.”