Dao Annual Best Essay Award 2017

  • ZHENG, Yujian (Recipient)

Prize: Prize (CDCF)


A well-constructed and tightly articulated study, the essay engages a range of existing works on the contested issue of the weakness of will from a comparative perspective, with a refreshed look at the Davidsonian paradox of irrationality. It develops and proposes a unifying thesis about a type of dynamic normativity that helps both explain the relation between destiny (ming 命) and human nature (xing 性 ) in the Mencius more robustly and shed some penetrating light on the seemingly dual status of “the Plato Principle” (“no one willingly acts counter to what he knows to be best”) in light of what the author terms Chinese diachronic holism. The duality involved, indicating some tension between its descriptive vs. normative aspects, serves to reveal the idea that humans not only have natural roots similar or homologous to animals but also have a natural-cum-normative destiny to become fully rational and moral. It exemplifies the type of comparative philosophy Dao aims to promote.
Degree of recognitionInternational
Granting OrganisationsSpringer