Philosophical Essay Prize Competition
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. In the years 2019-21, we asked: “How Does the Digitization of Our World Change Our Orientation?” We are collecting the award-winning essays in book publication on Orientations Press.
The Prize Question for the 2022-23 Competition is:
How to Orient Oneself in Times of Multiple Crises?
Several serious crises have now come upon the world: The looming climate catastrophe, which may result in worldwide famines and mass-migrations; the Coronavirus pandemic, which has paralyzed large parts of the global economy; the energy crisis, which may increasingly lead to social unrest and political upheaval; rising inflation around the world and the threat to the international financial system; and on top of all this, a new war in the middle of Europe, which could develop into a nuclear world war. All these crises, to name only the most spectacular, are closely intertwined in their origins and consequences. They create an orientation situation of hitherto hardly known complexity, and there seems to be no one who could sufficiently survey it, let alone give hints about how to master it, not even the responsible governments. We are witnessing a global disorientation in extreme danger and under the highest pressure to act.
The Hodges Foundation for Philosophical Orientation, which is concerned with the conditions of human orientation as such, calls for clarification: We ask what means and ways of our orientation can help in such a situation of multiple crises. Disorientation could make the hardships even more difficult. What in fact are ‘crises’ – who perceives them when, under which conditions, and in which contexts? How do people proceed in crises, what can be observed? What could they do? Is the philosophical concept of orientation useful when dealing of multiple crises? Are our human orientation abilities themselves altogether at stake? Or are there historical examples from which we can learn? What footholds does one follow in such situations? How can one attain an overview? What uncertainties must one reckon with? Insights gained from practical experience in certain fields of orientation (environment, economics, politics, media) can also be helpful.
For this year’s 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 send approx. 20-60 pages of thorough and comprehensive philosophical research that clearly shows connections to the concepts of the philosophy of orientation, as developed in Werner Stegmaier’s What is Orientation? A Philosophical Investigation. Critical approaches are welcome, too.
We will invite the best contributors to a virtual debate with our board and advisory council in order to determine the winners, and we will offer to publish the best essays on Orientations Press.
HFPO provides the following prize awards:
1st prize award: $5,000
2nd prize award: $4,000
3rd prize award: $3,000
Special student award: $2,500 (if no student is among the top 3).
Please submit your contributions by October 25, 2023 (midnight CT) to