2018 Dao Annual Best Essay Award
Dao has established “The Annual Best Essay Award” since 2007. In addition to a certificate of achievement, the award comes along with a prize of US$1,000. The award winners are noted in the website of the journal as well as the website of Springer, the publisher of the journal. The award ceremony is held each year at the American Philosophical Association Annual Meeting (Eastern Division) in January, where a special panel on the theme of the award winning essay is held. The critical comments and the author’s responses to them presented at the panel, after revision, will be published in the last issue of Dao each year.
The selection process consists of two stages. At the beginning of each year, a nominating committee of at least three editorial members, who have not published in Dao in the given year, is established. This committee is charged with the task of nominating three best essays published in the previous year. These three essays are then sent to the whole editorial board for deliberation. The final winner is decided by a vote by all editorial board members who are not authors of the nominated essays.
The editorial board has just finished its deliberation on the best essay published in 2018, and the award is given to:
Paul J. D’Ambrosio, Hans-Rudolf Kantor, Hans-Georg Moeller, “Incongruent Names: A Theme in the History of Chinese Philosophy,” Volume 17, Issue 3, March 2018, pp. 305-330. (The paper is set for free access by clicking the title here.)
In Pre-Qin Chinese philosophy, there is a mainstream view that names (ming 名) ought to be congruent by corresponding correctly to actualities (shi 實) or forms (xing 形), which is also one of the fundamental themes of modern philosophy in the west. In their co-authored essay, “Incongruent Names: A Theme in the History of Chinese Philosophy,” both a historical survey and a philosophical reflection, Paul D’Ambrosio, Hans-Rudolf Kantor, and Hans-Georg Moeller have accomplished the difficult job of detecting a long competing discourse on incongruent names that spans centuries and involves different voices, including the classical Daoist text Zhuangzi 莊子, neo-Daoism or Xuanxue 玄學, and Chinese Buddhism represented by Sengzhao 僧肇. The identification of this trans-textual resonance adds a level of historical understanding to the reading of philosophical texts. By focusing on this theme, the article brings to light both continuities and discontinuities as the discourse transformed over time. It represents the type of work Dao aims to promote.