This award recognizes excellence in advancing the American philosophical tradition toward the resolution of current personal, social and political problems. The Ila and John Mellow Prize of $250 is offered to the person whose paper is judged to be the best in:
- developing the treasure house of methods and ideas beyond the stage they are found in the classical works of American philosophy, or
- relating these ideas and methods to contemporary issues with a view to enhancing our understanding of current problems or our ability to resolve them.
The Prize is offered in the memory of Ila and John Mellow, parents of Shirley Mellow Lachs, whose sound common sense made them the embodiments of the practical philosophy of America, and is made possible through the generosity of John and Shirley Lachs.