The Undergraduate Awards is the world’s leading undergraduate awards program which recognises top undergraduate work, shares this work with a global audience and connects students across cultures and disciplines.
The 25 award categories are judged by a panel of reputable academics and industry leaders who choose Highly Commended Entrants, Regional Winners and one Global Winner from each category.
James Monaghan, who finished his Bachelor of Laws (Hons I) and Bachelor of Arts majoring in philosophy in June this year, has been recognised as a Global Winner in the philosophy category for his paper, Becoming Philosophers: Plato’s Challenge in the Crito.
His paper was about one of Plato’s dialogues, the Crito, which is commonly perceived as a dialogue about whether we have a moral obligation to obey the law.
On his paper's different viewpoint, James explained: "I argued that the dialogue is about what it takes to be a philosopher - and specifically, whether Crito will become one before his friend and teacher, Socrates, goes to his death. On my reading, the questions about whether we have moral obligations to obey the law serve as the particular testing ground on which the bigger question about what it takes to be a philosopher is teased out."
Reacting to his award, James said: "I was delighted. I really enjoyed writing the paper and I love philosophy and legal theory and want to do more of it, so it was encouraging to have my paper recognised."
His academic achievements are also acknowledged by his jurisprudence lecturer and research supervisor, Dr Kevin Walton, who recalled James’ stellar academic contributions.
"Theories of Conscientious Obedience, an LLB and JD elective, considers one question: do we have a moral obligation to obey the law? The unit starts with the Crito, one of Plato’s dialogues, on which James wrote the paper that went on to win the prize.
"It was a superb paper – the best in the class. Indeed, all of James’s work – his essays and his contributions to the class’s discussions – was superb. I am so pleased that he has received this prize from the Undergraduate Awards."
James currently works as a Research Assistant to Professor Mary Crock at the Sydney Law School. Though, next year he will begin work as the Researcher to the NSW Court of Appeal with the intention of further study to become an academic.
Global Winners are published in the annual 'The Undergraduate Journal', and are also invited to the UA Global Summit in Dublin, Ireland. The summit brings the world’s top students together for a series of inspirational lectures, workshops and discussions.
View the full list of the 2018 Global Winners here.