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A Journal of Comparative Philosophy

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  • 2022 Dao Annual Best Essay Award

    Harvey Lederman, “What Is the ‘Unity’ in the ‘Unity of Knowledge and Action’?” Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 21: 569-603  

    The “unity of knowledge and action” is a trademark doctrine of Wang Yangming, one of the most important philosophers in the neo-Confucian tradition. Precisely what Wang means by “unity”, however, has more been taken for granted than explained. In this carefully crafted essay, Harvey Lederman undertakes to explain the meaning of this “unity”, painstakingly examining the relevant passages, on the way to developing a  unique, stimulating, and thought-provoking interpretation. Accepting the common view that the unity of knowledge and action has two aspects, one regarding ethical training (gongfu) and the other regarding the original natural condition (benti), Lederman argues that, in the former case, knowledge and action are taken to be the same thing (identity), while in the latter, knowledge and action are just taken to be necessarily coextensive (unity without identity). The clarity, carefulness, and subtleness of the arguments this essay displays, along with the novelty of its thesis, represent the type of scholarship this journal aims to promote in the study of Chinese and comparative philosophy. 

  • 2021 Dao Annual Best Essay Award

    Benoit Vermander, “Edit by Number: Looking at the Composition of the Huainanzi, and Beyond.” Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 20 (2021): 459-498 

     Via a hermeneutics focused on numerology and concentric arrangements, the essay, which demonstrates familiarity with the germane historiography, literature, and theoretical apparatuses, offers an original construal of a textual universe in early China writings. Instead of taking for granted the organization and configuration, or the absence thereof, of these texts, it argues that there is a structural rhetoric. With particular reference to the Huainanzi, it lays bare the discernible and distinguishable patterns of textual composition while relating them to corresponding patterns of thinking. In so doing, it suggests the possibility and importance of looking beyond the writings’ intertextuality and toward their inter-structure. 

  • Dao Annual Best Essay Award

    Starting from Volume VI, 2007, Dao establishes The Annual Best Essay Award. In addition to a certificate of achievement, the award comes along with a prize of $1000. The award winners will also be noted on this website.

    The award ceremony will be held at the American Philosophical Association Annual Meeting (Eastern Division), where the award winner will be invited to give a lecture in the “Dao Annual Best Essay Award Winner Lecture Series.”  The selection committee consists of all editorial board members who have not published articles in Dao in the given year. The best essay is selected in terms of the scholarly rigorousness and philosophical creativity.