Sculpture – Les trois grâces (2010) by Jaume Plensa

Mario Wenning from the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies won the “2019 Dao Best Essay Award” together with his coauthor Alexei Procyshyn, a former Postdoctoral Fellow at UM. The award ceremony will take place at the American Philosophical Association Annual Meeting in New York in January 2021 and include an academic presentation and exchange as part of the “Dao Annual Best Essay Award Winner Lecture Series”. The selection committee justifies its decision as follows:

“Recognition and Trust: Hegel and Confucius on the Normative Basis of Ethical Life,” as its authors, Procyshyn and Wenning, modestly 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.”