Starting with issue 42, the format of Reason Papers is changing. To encourage greater dialogue and the wider exchange of ideas, each issue will be a symposium. Contributors will engage with each other around either a central paper, book, or theme.

This means we no longer accept unsolicited manuscripts. We do still encourage individuals to propose symposia to the editor (see below).

We will continue to publish book reviews and discussion notes.

For a detailed discussion of Reason Papers’s mission, read the Editorial Essay from our Fall 2011 issue (PDF, 7 pp.). Though written by my predecessors, as the current editor, I affirm their essay as representing my view of the journal’s mission.

I. General Policies

  1. Reason Papers does not accept multiply submitted manuscripts. Since the submissions are solicited to be a part of a symposium, the expectation is that the submission is an original work and not under consideration for publication elsewhere.
  2. Reason Papers holds the copyright in all manuscripts accepted for publication in the journal, but authors have unlimited rights to reprint in any form after a manuscript is published in Reason Papers (i.e., after the manuscript has gone live on our website), as long as Reason Papers is cited in all reprints as the original place of publication. Citations to Reason Papers should include the journal’s name, the volume number and date of publication, and ideally, the page numbers of the published version of the manuscript. We prefer that authors wait until after their manuscripts have been published with us before reprinting them, but are willing to consider exceptions to that rule on an ad hoc basis, as long as Reason Papers is indicated as the original place of publication (as above).
  3. We reserve the right to reject any manuscript (or press for substantive modifications in one) if it contains demonstrably false, unsupported, defamatory, or fallacious claims, or if its language is gratuitously insulting or inflammatory. We do not take this policy to proscribe an author’s making adverse moral judgments, however intense, on anything legitimately susceptible of moral judgment (including arguments, persons, policies, practices, ideologies, and institutions). We insist, however, that authors observe the distinction between the making of adverse moral judgments and the commission of ad hominem fallacies. We also insist that moral judgments be tailored to the evidence presented for them.
  4. All submissions will undergo extensive review by the editors.
  5. Reason Papers does not accept unsolicited manuscripts.

2. Review Policies for All Submissions

  1. The editors reserve the right to desk reject any submissions that do not meet these guidelines or do not meet the minimum expectation of scholarly work.
  2. Symposium Essays, Discussion Notes, Review Essays, and Book Reviews will typically not be subject to peer review. The editors (including the Book/Film Review Editor) may reject a given submission as inappropriate, or suggest revisions.
  3. Authors should expect extensive editorial queries and be prepared to entertain extensive requests for revision (including substantive revision).
  4. In some cases, the editors may request an external referee for a contribution. In such cases, authors will also receive feedback from these referees.
  5. The Editor-in-Chief makes all final determinations of publication. This is the case even if there is a guest editor for an issue or symposium.

III. Symposia Policies

  1. Reason Papers Symposia will collect several essays focused a central topic and, in part, respond to each other. The form of the symposia will vary depending the topic and editorial determination. One common form will be the author-meets-critics model where we will have several essays that discuss themes or criticisms of a book and end with an author’s response to these essays. Another form will have a lead essay with subsequent responses to this essay and then a final response by the lead author. Or, we will have round robin, where each author writes on the given theme or topic and then replies to the other essays within the same issue (though on rare occasion in a subsequent issue). Other formats will be considered as appropriate.
  2. Topics will usually be chosen by the editors, but we invite proposals for symposium topics. The expectation is that proposers will be involved in the symposium either as a contributor or as guest editor for that issue. See below for proposal guidelines.
  3. The recommended range for Symposium Essays is from 3,000 – 6,000 words, though in some cases we will allow longer submissions.
  4. Symposium Essays undergo extensive editorial review prior to publication. Authors of Symposium Essays should be prepared to respond to both substantive and editorial queries on their manuscript.

IV. Other Submissions

  1. Discussion Notes
    A Discussion Note is a brief essay responding in a focused way to a specific claim or argument in a previously published text. We prefer to receive Discussion Notes responding to items previously published in Reason Papers, but will in some cases consider Discussion Notes responding to items published elsewhere. Discussion Notes should be no longer (or not much longer) than 4,000 words. If a Discussion Note responds to an item first published in Reason Papers, the author of the original item will be allowed the final rejoinder. If a Discussion Note responds to an item first published elsewhere, the author of the Discussion Note will be allowed the final rejoinder. (The basic principle is that the initiator of a discussion-thread in Reason Papers is allowed the final rejoinder in Reason Papers.) Discussion-threads in Reason Papers are confined to a single “cycle,” i.e., a published item, followed by a critic’s response to that item, followed by a rejoinder by the author of the original item.
  2. Book Reviews and Review Essays
    A Book Review is a short essay of up to 3,000 words summarizing and evaluating a single book (or a film). A Review Essay is a contribution of up to 5,000 words (more if necessary) discussing a single book in detail or several books on the same topic (or films). In either case, we’re looking for active, informed engagement with the book(s) under review. Your review should summarize the book’s main claims, offer critical commentary on some of those claims, and offer a verdict of some kind on the book as a whole. Any combination of criticism and/or praise is acceptable, as long as the basis of your claims is made clear to the reader. Please include page references within your review for any direct quotations or paraphrases from the book under review.Contrary to popular belief, we think of reviews as making a major contribution to the literature. To that end, we insist that reviewers focus assiduously on the book under review. Relevant background is fine, but please do not use reviews as a platform for polemics on issues related to but not explicitly discussed in the book. In short, a review that shows little or no engagement with the book, or which sacrifices engagement with the book for some extraneous polemical end, is not acceptable, and will not run, regardless of the reputation or expertise of the reviewer. Reviewers for Reason Papers should, as always, be prepared to receive and respond to substantive queries by the editors on their review.
  3. Review copies: It is our policy that that reviewer reach out to the publisher/press themselves to get a review copy. In some cases, we can provide assistance or confirmation of our interest in publishing the review. Please note that if the publisher either refuses to send a review copy, or fails to do so, we cannot necessarily get you one at our expense.

V. Symposium Proposal Guidelines

  1. We invite proposals for topics or themes for symposia. These topics should reasonably align with the journal’s mission. See the Editorial Essay from our Fall 2011 issue for the mission.
  2. Proposals should be sent to
  3. Proposals should include:
    1. An explanation of the topic/theme and how it connects to the journal’s mission.
    2. Your name and institutional affiliation, if any.
    3. Explain what you see as your role in the symposium would be: a contributor, a lead, or a guest editor.
    4. The names of committed or potential contributors. If you plan for an open call, please indicate this.
    5. An estimated timeline for the editorial process: when the manuscript would be submitted, when authors would have final manuscripts (responding to editorial feedback) completed, when the anticipated publication would be (we publish twice a year: usually in mid-autumn and mid-spring).
  4. Editors are open to discussions about proposals before an official proposal is made.

VI. Style Guide

  1. We only accept electronic submissions. Send submissions to in Word or as a Rich Text Format. Please do not submit PDFs. 
  2. Submissons that do not follow this style guide will be returned to the authors so that they may revise the submission to meet this style guide.
  3. Please submit manuscripts double-spaced, in 12-point Times New Roman font. Follow the Chicago Manual of Style throughout. In general, the best guide to Reason Papers style is the Fall 2011 issue of the journal (PDF, 230 pp.).
  4. Please make sure that all material is appropriately cited, including all direct quotations without exception. (If you use quotation marks, it counts as a direct quotation, no matter how short the quoted word or phrase.) Furthermore, check to ensure that direct quotations (including block quotations) are precisely accurate according to the original source.
  5. Please transliterate all non-English words into English.
  6. Use footnotes rather than endnotes, and follow Chicago-style formatting of footnotes. Since all citation information will be contained within footnotes, no separate bibliography or works cited page should be used. Submissions not in Reason Papers (i.e., Chicago) style will be returned to the author for re-formatting. For book reviews, use internal page citations for the book under review.

Sample footnotes:

1. John Smith, “Virtue Ethics,” Virtue Studies 25, no. 2 (1990), pp. 112-42.

2. John Smith, Virtue Ethics (New York: Eudaimon Press, 2012).

Chapter from an anthology
3. John Smith, “Virtue Ethics,” in The Virtues, ed. Jane Doe (New York: Eudaimon Press, 2012), pp. 125-57.

4. John Smith, “Virtue Ethics,” All Things Virtue Blog, accessed online at: www.virtueethics/john smith.

Classic works
5. Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, 2d. ed., trans. Terence Irwin (Indianapolis, IN: Hackett, 1999), I.4.1095b7-8.

6. Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments, ed. D. D. Raphael and A. L. MacFie (Indianapolis, IN: Liberty Fund, 1976), IV.1.8, p. 181.

//Updated by Shawn Klein 5/20/20