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 and review, 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 2019, and the award is given to:
Alexei Procyshyn and Mario Wenning, “Recognition and Trust: Hegel and Confucius on the Normative Basis of Ethical Life.” Dao 18 (2019): 1-22.
“Recognition and Trust: Hegel and Confucius on the Normative Basis of Ethical Life,” as its authors, Procyshyn and Wenning, modestely state, “offers a comparative analysis of the notion of trust in Hegel and Confucius.” However, the article’s significance goes far beyond what one may expect from a mere comparative analysis. After a careful examination of Hegel’s notion of trust, which they show to be grounded in his theory of recognition, the authors identify a series of problems that cannot be adequately resolved within Hegel’s theory. Procyshyn and Wenning then turn to Confucius’s notion of trust, which is based on self-cultivation. Confucian trust is presented not only as an alternative to Hegel’s view, but also as a solution to the problems identified with the latter’s account, with the additional advantage of responding to Hegel’s infamous critique of Chinese philosophy. Moreover, Procyshyn and Wenning show how a Confucian notion of trust can productively reorient contemporary critical social theory by providing a unique diagnostic and therapeutic focus. Thus the essay reveals a philosophical approach to trust in its own light, representing the type of comparative studies Dao aims to promote.