Philosophical Prize Competition 2020/2021

Continuing the Enlightenment tradition of asking philosophical prize questions about highly relevant current issues, we seek in this format to philosophically confront the most pressing philosophical reorientations humanity faces in the 21st century.

The 2020-21 essay prize competition has ended and we have determined our winners. We will launch a new prize competition by October 2022.


Given the difficulties connected with the Coronavirus pandemic, we faced an insufficient pool of highest quality contributions in 2020. We therefore decided to postpone the deadline for our prize competition to 2021. Since the disruptions of work and life, caused by the lockdowns, rapidly accelerate the digital transformation of our world, our question has become even more relevant. We therefore ask again:

How does the digitization of our world change our orientation?

The digital transformation entails fundamental reorientations permeating not only our everyday routines of work and life, but also the ways we understand reality, communicate and interact with others, and thus how we orient ourselves in the world as such. While digital technologies simplify and expedite many processes of communication and production, they also pose new challenges to our political, economic, legal, scientific, artistic, and ethical orientations. How can we philosophically understand these reorientations? How do the new digital technologies fit to the conditions and structures of human orientation? What do they enable or promise, and what will they preclude, constrain or render impossible?

The philosophical prize competition is organized by the Hodges Foundation for Philosophical Orientation, which is based on Werner Stegmaier’s philosophy of orientation. Stegmaier’s original German book Philosophie der Orientierung (2008) has been translated into English by Reinhard G. Mueller in an abridged and improved version as What is Orientation? A Philosophical Investigation (Berlin/Boston: De Gruyter, 2019).


For this prize competition, we expect new contributions (i.e. not yet published in any form) from insightful points of view and with promising philosophical perspectives. We recommend that authors write approx. 30-120 pages of thorough and comprehensive philosophical research that clearly shows connections to the concepts of the philosophy of orientation (especially chapter 16 of What is Orientation?). Critical approaches are welcome, too.

Please submit your contributions in English by the deadline on October 25, 2021.

HFPO provides the following prize awards:

1st prize award: $25,000

2nd prize award: $15,000

3rd prize award: $10,000

Special student award: $5,000 (if no student is among the top 3).

The jury consists of the board of the Hodges Foundation for Philosophical Orientation (Tina Hodges, Mike Hodges, Werner Stegmaier, Reinhard G. Mueller) and additional reviewers. HFPO will offer to publish the best contributions.

Please submit your contributions by October 25, 2021 (midnight CT) to

For more information or questions, please contact: 

Dr. Reinhard Mueller, Executive Director of the Hodges Foundation for Philosophical Orientation at