Essay Prizes for Philsophy
Trinity college philosophy essay prize.
The Trinity College Philosophy Essay Prize is open to Year 12 or Lower 6th students. The aim of the Prize is to encourage able sixth formers to pursue their interest in Philosophy, with the hope that they will be encouraged to read this or related subjects at University. Candidates are invited to submit an essay of up to 2,000 words.
THE ROYAL INSTITUTE OF PHILOSOPHY ESSAY PRIZE
Each year the Royal Institute holds an essay prize competition. The winner receives £2,500 and their essay is published in Philosophy . Entries are considered by a panel of judges and priority is given to originality, clarity of expression, breadth of interest, and potential for advancing discussion of philosophy.
THE JOHN LOCKE INSTITUTE ESSAY COMPETITION
Entry is open to students from any country and any school. Each essay should address only one of the questions in your chosen subject category, and must not exceed 2000 words. There is a prize of £100 for the best essay, and the essay will be published (with the authors' permission) on the Institute website.
LLOYD DAVIES PHILOSOPHY PRIZE
Established in 2006, the Lloyd Davies Philosophy Prize is an essay competition open to students in Year 12 or the Lower 6th. The first prize is £250, and there may also be a second prize of £150. The purpose of the Prize is to give students in Year 12 or the Lower 6th who are considering applying to a University an opportunity to write about a subject they are interested in.
SHEFFIELD UNIVERSITY ESSAY COMPETITION
The Sheffield Philosophy Essay Prize is an annual competition for Years 10, 11 and 12. The aims of this prize are to widen interest in philosophy and in studying philosophy at university level among students who would not otherwise be exposed to the subject as well as to encourage ambitious and talented secondary school students considering applying to university to study philosophy.
Our 2023 Essay Competitions are open for entry! Click each image below to view full details for the relevant competition.
Young Minds Prize
A chance for our younger students (aged 14 & under) to explore beyond the curriculum in answer to contemporary questions and debates. One winner will be selected from each of the 8-11 and 12-14 age categories.
Hone writing skills and an ability to construct effective arguments, explore your interests beyond the school curriculum and gain a great talking-point on your university application. Competitions are aimed at Year 12, but open to younger applicants and those re-applying for university.
View Junior & Senior Competition Guidelines N.B. Students are permitted to enter in more than 1 subject category.
Young Minds (14 & Under) Competition
For enquiring students looking to engage with cross-cutting topics.
Address pressing issues including environmental change and migration
Geography essay competition.
Design a Wearable!
Engineering innovation challenge.
An exploration of history and historical approaches
History essay competition.
Engage with the state of contemporary debate
Politics essay competition.
Ability to make logical arguments and reason your opinions, law essay competition.
Can you think like an economist?
Economics essay competition.
Classics Essay Competition
Explore the literature, history and languages of the ancient greek and roman worlds.
A chance to research literature and thought written in european languages.
Develop an interest in scientific research
Medicine essay competition.
Is it easier for animals to live on land or in the sea?
Veterinary essay competition.
Art History Essay Competition
Should more artwork be shredded.
Delve into the history and philosophy of architecture and design
Architecture essay competition.
Engage in the experimental side of psychology
Psychology essay competition.
Philosophy Essay Competition
Probe into your reasoning process.
Explore periods and styles of english literature & the origins of language.
STEM Essay Competition
Scientific exploration across chemistry, biology, physics, maths, dentistry and computer science.
- U of T Home
- Arts & Science Home
The Aristotle: A high school philosophy essay contest
The winner, finalists, and honourable mention of the 2022 Aristotle Contest, the Department of Philosophy’s high school essay competition, have been selected. Read their essays below, and scroll down to find out more about the contest.
Thank you to all contributing authors, their teachers, mentors, and coaches, as well as the judges. And congratulations to the most successful essayists, who emerged at the top of a strong field of participants.
Missed this year’s contest? Essay prompts for next year can be expected by March 2023.
Aarah Shahjahan , “In Times of Crisis: When Safety Precedes Liberty” (Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute, Toronto)
William Wang , “The Universal Immorality of Perjury” (University of Toronto Schools, Toronto)
Natalie Oulikhanian , “Redefining Our Liberties: A Communal Approach to Vaccine Mandates” (Aloysius Gonzaga Secondary School, Mississauga)
Max Long , “ When It’s OK to Lie: The Case of Ethical Perjury” (Richmond Secondary School, Richmond, British Columbia)
What Is the Aristotle Contest?
In collaboration with the Ontario Philosophy Teachers’ Association , the department administers the annual Aristotle Contest, awarding cash prizes for the finest philosophical work by current Canadian high school students. The contest provides high school students interested in philosophy with an opportunity to have their work evaluated and recognized by the largest post-secondary Department of Philosophy in North America.
Instructions, previous winners, frequently asked questions, contest sponsors, printable poster.
Anyone enrolled in a Canadian high school at or below the grade 12 level (or equivalent) may participate in the Aristotle Contest. Home-schooled students working at or below the grade 12 level may also participate.
Submissions in both English and French are welcome.
Three questions are posted for this year’s contest; contestants must choose only one. The questions for the 2022 contest were:
- Suppose there were a magic elixir you could drink that would make you immortal. Would you drink it? In general, would it be a good or bad thing if you could live forever? Defend your answer.
- To varying degrees, all laws and regulations inhibit some aspect of our personal liberty. In democratic countries, citizens agree to obey the laws and regulations enacted by their elected governments. But the imposition of vaccine mandates has been met with acts of civil disobedience, and some citizens have rallied against what they perceive to be unjust infringements of their liberty. To what extent is it just for governments to curtail citizens’ liberty in the name of health and public safety? Defend your answer.
- Suppose you are the sole witness in a murder case. The evidence against the accused is only circumstantial, but it is compelling. You know the accused is innocent, but your testimony will support the evidence and surely convict them. Under oath, you are asked a yes-or-no question. Do you lie or tell the truth? Defend your decision.
Contestants will write an essay of 1200-1500 words that develops and defends a position taken in response to the chosen question. Essays must be submitted electronically as a Word document (not PDF) in 12-point font, double-spaced and, if using quotations or ideas from the readings or other sources, with complete referencing. Essays proper should be prepared for blind review, that is, they should not bear the author’s name or any other mark identifying them.
Contestants are not required, encouraged, or expected to do any reading or research beyond reading the chosen question. If contestants choose to use ideas from other sources they will not be penalized for doing so, provided the sources are properly identified. The top ten entries will undergo a plagiarism check.
For a variety of resources on writing in philosophy, visit our Advice on Writing in Philosophy page. For a detailed guide on how to compile, organize, and express your thoughts for the essay in this contest, see the Aristotle Contest Guide to Writing a Philosophy Essay (PDF).
Essays will be judged according to several criteria, including the quality, depth, and originality of thought; the organization of ideas; and clarity of expression.
View the Aristotle Contest Evaluation Scheme (PDF).
Author names and school affiliations of contestants are redacted so that they remain anonymous to evaluators. In the first round of evaluation, each paper is marked twice: once by a high school teacher and once by a university-affiliated evaluator (a faculty member in U of T’s Department of Philosophy).
A list of ten finalists is then drawn from papers that were ranked highest by both sets of judges. Evaluators then come to a consensus on the contest winners and recipients of certificates of distinction.
Contest winners will be announced late October 2022.
To be eligible, each submission must be emailed as an attached Word document (not PDF) along with a completed contest form (PDF). You can either fill in the PDF electronically using an online PDF-filling tool like PDFescape (electronic signatures are acceptable), or you can print the form, fill it out on paper, and scan and attach it to your entry. Entries must be emailed; printed entries sent by regular mail will not be accepted. Essays that have been submitted to other venues will also not receive consideration.
Submission emails must be dated Wednesday, June 30, 2022 or earlier. Late entries will not be accepted. All submissions must be emailed as attachments with the subject line “Aristotle Contest entry” to:
Petra Dreiser , Communications Officer, Department of Philosophy ([email protected] )
First place: $500 Second place: $400 Third place: $300
Up to ten submissions will receive an honourable mention.
Take a look at the winning entries from 2021. Prizes were awarded to:
- First place: Alissa Li, University of Toronto Schools, Toronto, Ontario: “Beyond Borders: A Global Vaccine Solution” (PDF)
- Second place: Maisy Elspeth, Leaside High School, East York, Ontario: “Veganism as Moral Imperative” (PDF)
- Third place: Wilson Li, William Lyon Mackenzie Collegiate Institute, North York, Ontario: “Rationality of an Open Mind” (PDF)
The following essays received honourable mentions:
- Sarah Youssef, Port Moody Secondary School, Port Moody, British Columbia: “A Case against Cruelty” (PDF)
- Jessica Oh, St. Elizabeth Catholic High School, Thornhill, Ontario: “Money Should Not Factor in Vaccine Distribution” (PDF)
In 2020, prizes went to:
- First place: Darwin Pitts, Lisgar Collegiate Institute, Ottawa, Ontario: “ In Defence of Legitimate Democratic Authority ” (PDF)
- Second place: Justin Liu, St. George’s School, Vancouver, British Columbia: “ A Defense of Privacy in the Digital Age ” (PDF)
- Third place: Andrei Li, Monarch Park Collegiate Institute, Toronto, Ontario: “ On the ‘Good Life’ and Perpetuation of the ‘Self’ ” (PDF)
The following three essays received honourable mentions in 2020:
- Ariel Wang, Port Moody Secondary School, Port Moody, British Columbia: “ On the Fantasy of a Good Life “ (PDF)
- Ryangwon Kim, Brentwood College School, Mill Bay, British Columbia: “ A Case against Anarchy ” (PDF)
- Zeeniya Waseem, Turner Fenton Secondary School, Brampton, Ontario: “ Inner Contentment and Fulfillment within a Good Life ” (PDF)
In 2019, prizes were awarded to:
- First place: Elizabeth Zhu, University of Toronto Schools, Toronto, Ontario: “Reality Is a Shared Hallucination” (PDF)
- Second place: Ayush Ranjan, The Woodlands School, Mississauga, Ontario: “On the Subjectivity of Reality and the Benefits of a Simulated World” (PDF)
- Third place: Ritvik Singh, Academy for Gifted Children–P.A.C.E., Richmond Hill, Ontario: “A Treatise on Creative Artificial Intelligence” (PDF)
The following three essays from 2019 received honourable mentions:
- Sameer Bapat, A. Y. Jackson Secondary School, North York, Ontario: “The Creative Capacity of Artificially Intelligent Machines” (PDF)
- Kacper Mykietyn, St. Martin Secondary School, Mississauga, Ontario: “Distribution of Genetic Resources and Its Consequences” (PDF)
- Keyer Thyme, Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute, North York, Ontario: “In Defence of the Simulation” (PDF)
Read more about the successful 2019 contestants .
In 2018, prizes were awarded to:
- First place: Eric Fishback, Guelph Collegiate Vocational Institute, Guelph, Ontario: “The Universal Objective Truths of Aesthetics” (PDF)
- Second place: Abdullah Farooq, Streetsville Secondary School, Mississauga, Ontario: “An Essay on the Importance of Cognition in Aesthetic Judgements” (PDF)
- Third place: Donald Lv, Albert Campbell Collegiate Institute, Scarborough, Ontario: “Should AI Be Granted Rights” (PDF)
The following four essays from 2018 received honourable mentions:
- Emily Tu, Lawrence Park Collegiate Institute, Toronto, Ontario: “Inimitable Human Intelligence and the Truth on Morality” (PDF)
- Woojin Lim, Fraser Heights Secondary School, Surrey, British Columbia: “The Future of Smart Machines: Intelligence, Morality, and Rights” (PDF)
- Adam Aziz, The Academy for Gifted Children P.A.C.E., Richmond Hill, Ontario: “Artificial Intelligence vs. Human Intelligence” (PDF)
- Samuel Chan, Albert Campbell Collegiate Institute, Scarborough, Ontario: “The Humanity in Machines” (PDF)
How much of my essay can include quotes from other sources?
Any quotations will be considered part of the word count. You may use as many quotations as you wish, keeping in mind that the more you use, the less space you will have for developing your own thoughts. Quotations must, of course, be properly referenced.
If my essay is slightly over the 1500 word count limit, will it still be accepted?
No, any paper over the 1500 word count limit will not be accepted. In order to be fair and avoid questions regarding leeway, this rule will be strictly followed.
May I submit my essay physically, by regular mail or in-person at the department?
No. Only electronic submissions will be accepted.
Is CEGEP equivalent to high school grade 12?
For this contest, the first year of CEGEP is equivalent to high school grade 12. Anyone enrolled in the second year of CEGEP is not eligible to participate.
I home-school my child, but the contest form seems designed for teachers . Is there another form that I should use?
No need to use another form. Use the contest form (PDF) and in place of the school address and phone number, put your home address and phone number.
- The Faculty of Arts and Science at the University of Toronto, St. George campus
- University of Toronto Schools
- The Department of Philosophy at the University of Toronto, St. George campus
- Ontario Philosophy Teachers’ Association
View, share, download, and print the contest poster.
The Philosophy Essay Prize is open to Year 12 or Lower 6th students. The aim of the Prize is to encourage able sixth formers to pursue their interest in Philosophy, with the hope that they will be encouraged to read this or related subjects at University.
The questions for the 2023 competition are as follows:
- There is progress in science. Is there progress in philosophy, and is the field only successful if there is?
- Can we love someone more than ourselves, and what does this imply about the human condition?
You should answer one question only. The deadline for entries is 11.59 pm UK time on Wednesday 31 May 2023.
Candidates are invited to submit an essay of up to 2,000 words. Entries must be submitted online by the end of May using the form below.
The competition carries a First Prize of £600 and a Second Prize of £400, to be split equally between the candidate and his or her school or college; the school or college’s portion of the prize to be issued in the form of book tokens.
All candidates will be notified with the results of the competition around the end of August. Any queries should be directed to the Admissions Administrator, Ms Stacey Smith, at [email protected] .
About your school
1st Prize: Ms Isabel Rumfitt (James Allen’s Girls’ School) 2nd Prize: Sam Wolffe (University College School)
1st Prize: Mr Fucheng Warren Zhu (Harrow International School, Hong Kong) 2nd Prize: Mr Jacob Tidmarsh (Home-schooled)
1st Prize: Catherine Brewer (Sharnbrook Sixth Form) 2nd Prize: David Levy (JFS)
1st Prize: Dilara Smyth (The Abbey School, Reading) 2nd Prize: Dalir Kosimov (Harris Westminster Sixth Form)
1st Prize: Nicole Souter (The King Edward VI School) 2nd Prize: Jack Chong (Wellington College)
1st Prize: Omodunni Bello (Sherborne School for Girls) 2nd Prize: Max Johnston (Uppingham School)
1st Prize: Conor O’Shea (Harrow School) 2nd Prize: Lila Mendoza (Sevenoaks School)
1st Prize: Harry Lloyd (Monmouth Comprehensive School) 2nd Prize: Kartik Prabhu (Westminster School)
1st Prize: Christopher Banks (King’s College School, Wimbledon) 2nd Prize: Eleanor Holton (The Stephen Perse Foundation Sixth Form, Cambridge)
1st Prize: Jeremy Khoo (Raffles Institution, Singapore) Joint 2nd Prize: Phoebe Bright (St Paul’s Girls’ School) Joint 2nd Prize: Rory Turnbull (Hereford Cathedral School)
1st Prize: Keith Wynroe (De La Salle College, Macroom) 2nd Prize: Nina Maras (Latymer Upper School)
1st Prize: Kacper Kowalczyk (Dulwich College) 2nd Prize: Alice Carter (Canford School)
1st Prize: Ding Hui (Raffles Institution) 2nd Prize: Timothy Wickenden (The Sixth Form College, Farnborough)
1st Prize: Rosie Illingworth (Oundle School) 2nd Prize: Joshua Brown (University College School)
1st Prize: Annie Hawes (Henrietta Barnett School) 2nd Prize: Robert Dixon (Oundle School)
- Share on Twitter
- Share on Facebook
- Share on LinkedIn
- Share via email
- previous post: Linguistics Essay Prize
- next post: R.A. Butler Politics Prize
Access and Outreach Hub
- Skip to navigation
- Skip to main content
- Skip to footer
Philosophy Essay Writing Competition
Philosophy Essay Competiton 2023
Year 12 and 13 students are invited to take part in the University of Lincoln Philosophy Essay Competition. Essays should be 800-1200 words in length and answer one of the following questions:
- Is the mind physical?
- Does science show that humans do not have free will?
- Should any reasonable person favour socialism?
- Is it morally acceptable to own pets?
The author of the winning essay will receive a £200 Amazon voucher. The authors of four further essays will receive a £50 Amazon voucher. Other outstanding submissions will receive honourable mention.
The essay should include a list of references at the end, giving the author name, title, and date of publication of all texts discussed in the essay. The list of references does not contribute to the word count.
Essays should be saved as ‘first name, last name, title’ so that the name of the author can be identified from the file name. Essays should be in Word or Open Office format. They should be submitted to Dr Ralph Weir at email@example.com . Your submission email must include:
- Your year of study
- Your school
The deadline for submissions is 17 February 2023 . Entries will be judged by a panel of academic staff at the University of Lincoln. The results will be announced by 28 February 2023.
Entrants are encouraged to use resources such as the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy and the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy to research their question. Entrants who choose Question 1 may want to begin by reading Grant Bartley’s ‘ Why Physicalism is Wrong ’; for Question 2, Helen Steward’s ‘ Are They Playing Our Tune? ’ for Question 3 Ian Olazov’s ‘ The Case for Socialism ’, and for question 4 Gary Francione’s ‘ The Case Against Pets’ .
Please send any queries about the competition to firstname.lastname@example.org .
This competition is sponsored by the Humane Philosophy Project .
Terms and Conditions
1. The promoter is: the University of Lincoln (known as ‘the University’).
2. There is no entry fee to enter the competition.
3. These terms and conditions apply to the “Philosophy Competition” run by the University of Lincoln.
4. By entering this competition, an entrant is indicating his/her agreement to be bound by these terms and conditions.
5. The winner will be chosen from the entries submitted between the launch date and deadline.
6. Competition closes to entries on 17 February 2023 at 23:59.
7. All entries must be original and need to be submitted to Dr Ralph Weir via [email protected] .
8. No responsibility can be accepted for entries not received for whatever reason.
9. Entries limited to 1 per person.
10. The winners will be contacted via email.
11. The overall winner will receive a £200 Amazon voucher and four second-place winners will receive a £50 Amazon voucher each.
12. No alternative to the prizes will be offered.
13. Prizes are subject to availability and we reserve the right to substitute any prize with another of equivalent value without giving notice.
14. The winner will be chosen by a panel of academic staff at the University of Lincoln. The judges’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.
15. If the winner cannot be contacted or does not claim the prize within 14 days of notification they will forfeit the prize.
16. The promoter’s decision in respect of all matters to do with the competition will be final and no correspondence will be entered into.
17. The entrant agrees to the use of his/her entry to be used in any publicity material and to feature on the University of Lincoln website. Any personal data relating to the winner or any other entrants will be used solely in accordance with current UK data protection legislation.
18. The promoter reserves the right to cancel or amend the competition and these terms and conditions without notice at any time. Any changes to the competition will be notified to entrants as soon as possible by the promoter.
19. The competition and these terms and conditions will be governed by English law and any disputes will be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England.
20. Winning entries will be selected based on the quality of the essay as decided by a panel of academic staff at the University of Lincoln.
We are delighted to announce that the 2022 University of Lincoln Philosophy Essay Competition received many brilliant submissions from across three continents and that the winners of the competition are:
1st prize: Min-Jun Kang (Korea International School, Jeju, South Korea) who chose the question ‘Why is There Something Rather than Nothing?’
2 nd prize: Nicholson Kanefield (Boulder High School, Colorado, USA) who chose the question ‘Are Persons Morally Responsible for Their Actions?’
2 nd prize: Lida Wen (Episcopal High School, Virginia, USA) who chose the question ‘Are Persons Morally Responsible for Their Actions?’
2 nd prize: Lloyd Doré-Green (Winchester College, UK) who chose the question ‘Is it Morally Permissible to Eat Animals?’
2 nd prize: Oliver Johnson (Warwick School, UK) who chose the question ‘Are Persons Morally Responsible for Their Actions?’
The judges also selected the following exceptionally high quality submissions for honourable mention:
Jasmine Barlow (Hitchin Girls School)
Noor Bibi (Solihull Sixth Form College)
Byungha Lee (Shattuck-St. Mary’s School)
Beatrice Colombi (Felsted School)
Ava Connolly (Lady Margaret School)
Kareem Eldawi (George Spencer Academy)
Kiera Fraser (William Farr Church of England School)
Phoebe Graham (Altrincham Grammar School for Girls)
Harry Hall (St. Peter's School, York)
Hana Heffer (Magdalen College School)
Archie Carlow Higgs (Bedford Modern School)
Oscar Luck (Tiffin School)
Ebiere Penawou (Hurtwood House)
Alexander Petukhov (Shrewsbury School)
Caitlin Tinsley (St. Mary’s School, Gerrards Cross)
Florence Ward (Dauntsey's School)
Edward Whysall (Bedford Modern School)
Philosophy Essay Competition
000 - 000 2022 - 2023.
We are proud to announce a Cogito Education Philosophy Essay Competition ! Accepting entries from students in years 12 + 13.
100% scholarship discount for Cogito Memberships for 1 year (worth £95)
2nd + 3rd Place
70% scholarship discount for Cogito Memberships for 1 year (worth £66)
30% scholarship discount for Cogito Memberships for 1 year (worth £28)
A Religious Studies and Philosophy learning platform. Perfect learning aide. With 100+ tutorials and quizzes. No more need for tutors or textbooks.
Philosophy Essay Competition details
The essays are meant to be short arguments for a position and should be 500-800 words long. You will be examined based upon the strength of your knowledge and persuasiveness of your argument.
The essay should:
- Be 500-800 words
- Contain references in footnotes (not to be included in the wordcount)
- The document should be labelled “Last Name, First Name, Essay Title”.
- Please indicate in your email your name, school and year group.
- Essays to be submitted to [email protected]
Announcement date:, 20th february 2023, 1st march 2023.
Contact Luke at [email protected]
- The organiser is: Cogito Education.
- There is no entry fee to enter the competition.
- These terms and conditions apply to the “Philosophy Essay Competition” organised by Cogito Education
- By entering this competition, an entrant is indicating his/her agreement to be bound by these terms and conditions.
- The winner will be chosen from the entries submitted between the launch date and deadline.
- Competition closes to entries on 20th February 2023 at 23:59.
- All entries must be original and need to be submitted at [email protected]
- No responsibility can be accepted for entries not received for whatever reason.
- Entries limited to 1 per person.
- The winners will be contacted via email.
- The first place winner will receive a one-use voucher code that grants 100% off Cogito Membership for one year. The second and third place winners will receive a different one-use voucher each that grants 70% off Cogito Membership for one year. All entrants (who are not the first second or third place winners) will receive a 20% off voucher for Cogito Memberships for one year. This final voucher will be released at the same time as the winning vouchers.
- No alternative to the prizes will be offered.
- Prizes are subject to availability and we reserve the right to substitute any prize with another of equivalent value without giving notice.
- The winner will be chosen by Cogito Education. The judges’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.
- If the winner cannot be contacted or does not claim the prize within 14 days of notification they will forfeit the prize.
- The promoter’s decision in respect of all matters to do with the competition will be final and no correspondence will be entered into.
- The entrant agrees to the use of his/her entry to be used in any publicity material and to feature on the Cogito Education website. Any personal data relating to the winner or any other entrants will be used solely in accordance with current UK data protection legislation.
- The promoter reserves the right to cancel or amend the competition and these terms and conditions without notice at any time. Any changes to the competition will be notified to entrants as soon as possible by the promoter.
- The competition and these terms and conditions will be governed by English law and any disputes will be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England.
- Winning entries will be selected based on the quality of the essay as decided by Cogito Education.
- Cogito Membership
- Essay writing guide
- Intro to A-level RS
- Why A-level RS
- Terms and Conditions
- Returns and Refunds
© Cogito Education
Sign up to our newsletter.
Department of Philosophy
Philosophy essay competition 2023.
We are delighted to announce the annual University of Sheffield Philosophy Essay Competition for Year 10, Year 11 and Year 12 students in the UK is now open.
About the competition
The Sheffield Philosophy Essay Competition is open now and closes on Wednesday 12 April at 5pm . Students in Years 10, 11, and 12 in the UK are invited to submit an essay on one of the topics below. Only one essay per student is permitted.
The authors of the ten best entries will each receive a prize of a £25 voucher and an invitation to take part in a special virtual workshop organised by the Department of Philosophy at the University of Sheffield, involving academics and current students from the department. The workshop will be held on Wednesday 24 May 2023.
The entries will be read and judged by a panel of experts from the Department of Philosophy at the University of Sheffield.
How to enter
The competition is open to students in years 10, 11 and 12 in the UK. Please write an essay of around 1,000 words (but not more than 1,500 words) on one of the following topics. Include a bibliography. Essays should be the original work of individual students. Please save your essay as a Word or PDF document and include your full name on the document and in the file name, for example: JOE SMITH - PHILOSOPHY ESSAY 2022.
To submit your entry, you must complete this form . The form includes a Dropbox link that will allow you to upload your translation. You must complete the entry form AND upload your entry using the Dropbox link. Failure to do so may mean that your entry cannot be considered.
You must submit your entry before 5pm on Wednesday 24 April 2023.
Winners will be notified by Monday 1 May 2023.
Philosophy essay competition questions 2023
You may submit an essay answering any one of the questions below. To help start you off, we have suggested a resource for each question. You do not have to write about each resource, these are just places for you to begin to explore each topic. If you wish, you may also choose your own question to write your essay - you can write about any philosophical issue you find interesting. Whatever question you choose to answer, make sure to include it at the top of your essay.
- Is religion important for a good life? Discuss your view using one particular religion or a non-theistic worldview as an example.
- Can we justify keeping non-human animals as pets? Suggested resource: http://justice-everywhere.org/general/the-ethics-of-keeping-pets-why-love-is-not-enough/
- What is work? Suggested resource: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/work-a-short-history-of-a-modern-concept-with-axel-honneth/id1618318465?i=1000571528839
- One way we can make the world a better place is to make the people who already exist on earth happier. Do we also make the world a better place by creating new people who will be (at least slightly) happy? Suggested resource: https://iai.tv/articles/how-effective-altruism-lost-the-plot-auid-2284
If you have any questions, please contact [email protected] .
A world top-100 university.
We're a world top-100 university renowned for the excellence, impact and distinctiveness of our research-led learning and teaching.
2023 global essay competition.
Questions for our 2023 Global Essay Competition are now available on this page .
Important: Our entry requirements and submission system have changed substantially.
Please read the section New Entry Requirements carefully.
The John Locke Institute encourages young people to cultivate the characteristics that turn good students into great writers: independent thought, depth of knowledge, clear reasoning, critical analysis and persuasive style. Our Essay Competition invites students to explore a wide range of challenging and interesting questions beyond the confines of the school curriculum.
Entering an essay in our competition can build knowledge, and refine skills of argumentation. It also gives students the chance to have their work assessed by experts. All of our essay prizes are judged by a panel of senior academics drawn from leading universities including Oxford and Princeton. The judges will choose their favourite essay from each of seven subject categories, and a junior category for under 15s, and then select an overall 'best essay' across the seven subjects: Philosophy, Politics, Economics, History, Psychology, Theology and Law.
Q1. A team of scientists wants to discover how many genders there are. How should they proceed?
Q2. In what sense are you the same person today that you were when you were ten?
Q3. Is tax theft?
Q1. Do the results of elections express the will of the people?
Q2. If China becomes the leading superpower, what would that mean for the people who live there? What would it mean for everyone else?
Q3. What might account for the different levels of political corruption in your own country and your country's nearest neighbour?
Q1. A government funds its own expenditure by taxing its population. Suppose, instead, it relied solely on money newly created by the central bank? What would be the advantages and/or disadvantages?
Q2. In his thought experiment, the Iowa Car Crop, David Friedman tries to show that growing wheat is, in an important sense, just another 'technology' we can use for manufacturing cars, and in some circumstances a much more efficient one.
If international trade is thus a way of using less valuable inputs to produce more valuable outputs, why would governments impose trade barriers such as tariffs and quotas, thereby forcing producers to be more wasteful and less efficient?
Q3. What would happen if we banned billionaires?
Q1. How much richer or poorer are the British today than they would have been without the effects of British colonialism?
Q2. Which has a bigger effect on history: the plans of the powerful or their mistakes?
Q3. Which characteristics distinguish successful movements for social change from unsuccessful ones?
Q1. Can happiness be measured?
Q2. In surveys conducted in the United States, significantly more than half the respondents reported that they believed themselves to be more attractive than the median person in their country. How might we account for this?
Q3. Are beliefs voluntary?
Q1. What distinguishes a small religion from a large cult?
Q2. If you cannot persuade your intelligent, sympathetic friends to embrace your religious belief system, do you have enough reason to believe what you believe?
Q3. What was God doing before He created the cosmos?
Q1. Would justice be better served in the United States if more Supreme Court judges were women?
Q2. Suppose that you were contemplating, in violation of the rules of this competition, submitting an essay written for you by artificial intelligence. What would be the difference between such an act and ordinary attempted theft?
Q3. Are there too many laws?
Q1. Is safety more important than fun?
Q2. If you had $10 billion to spend on making the world better, how would you spend it?
Q3. What, if anything, do your parents owe you?
Q4. What is something important, about which nearly everybody is wrong?
Q5. Why is John Locke sometimes called the father of liberalism?
NEW ENTRY REQUIREMENTS & FURTHER DETAILS
Our entry requirements and submission system have changed substantially.
Please read the following carefully.
Entry to the John Locke Institute Essay Competition 2023 is open to students from any country.
All candidates must register for the competition by 1 1.59 pm BST on the registration deadline : 31 May 2023 . Registration requires an active email address to which the candidate has access. We cannot accept submissions from candidates who have not registered by the deadline.
Registration will open on 1 April 2023.
If you would like to receive a reminder email on 1 April, please click here .
All entries must be submitted by 11.59 pm BST on the submission deadline: Friday, 30 June 2023 . Candidates must be eighteen years old, or younger, on that date. (Candidates for the Junior Prize must be fourteen years old, or younger, on that date.)
Entry is free.
Each essay must address only one of the questions in your chosen subject category, and must not exceed 2000 words (not counting diagrams, tables of data, footnotes, bibliography or authorship declaration).
The filename of your pdf must be in this format: FirstName-LastName-Category-QuestionNumber.pdf; so, for instance, Alexander Popham would submit his answer to question 2 in the Psychology category with the following file name:
Essays with filenames which are not in this format will be rejected.
Each candidate will be required to provide the email address of an academic referee who is familiar with the candidate's written academic work. This should be a school teacher, if possible, or another responsible adult who is not a relation of the candidate. The John Locke Institute will email this referee to verify that the submitted essay is indeed the original work of the candidate.
Submissions may be made as soon as registration opens in April. We recommend that you submit your essay well in advance of the deadline to avoid any last-minute complications and to ensure that you can submit your essay for free.
If for any reason you miss the 30 June deadline you will have an opportunity to make a late entry, under two conditions:
a) A late entry fee of 20.00 USD must be paid by credit card within twenty-four hours of the original deadline; and
b) Your essay must be submitted before 11.59 pm BST on 10 July 2023 .
Our grading system is proprietary. Essayists may be asked to discuss their entry with a member of the John Locke Institute’s faculty. We use various means to identify plagiarism, contract cheating, the use of AI and other forms of fraud . Our determinations in all such matters are final.
Essays will be judged on knowledge and understanding of the relevant material, the competent use of evidence, quality of argumentation, originality, structure, writing style and persuasive force. The very best essays are likely to be those which would be capable of changing somebody's mind. Essays which ignore or fail to address the strongest objections and counter-arguments are unlikely to be successful .
Candidates are advised to answer the question as precisely and directly as possible.
The writers of the best essays will receive a commendation and be shortlisted for a prize. Writers of shortlisted essays will be notified by 11.59 pm BST on 31 July . They will also be invited to Oxford for an invitation-only academic conference and awards dinner in September, where the prize-winners will be announced. Unlike the competition itself, the academic conference and awards dinner are not free. Please be aware that n obody is required to attend either the academic conference or the prize ceremony. You can win a prize without travelling to Oxford.
All short-listed candidates, including prize-winners, will be able to download eCertificates that specify their achievement. If you win First, Second or Third Prize, and you travel to Oxford for the ceremony, you will receive a signed certificate.
There is a prize for the best essay in each category. The prize for each winner of a subject category, and the winner of the Junior category, is a scholarship worth US$2000 towards the cost of attending any John Locke Institute programme, and the essays will be published on the Institute's website. Prize-giving ceremonies will take place in Oxford, at which winners and runners-up will be able to meet some of the judges and other faculty members of the John Locke Institute. Family, friends, and teachers are also welcome, subject to capacity constraints.
The candidate who submits the best essay overall will be awarded an honorary John Locke Institute Junior Fellowship, which comes with a US$10,000 scholarship to attend one or more of our summer schools and/or gap year courses.
The judges' decisions are final, and no correspondence will be entered into.
R egistration opens: 1 April, 2023.
Registration deadline: 31 May, 2023. (Registration is required by this date for subsequent submission.)
Submission deadline: 30 June, 2023.
Late entry deadline: 10 July, 2023. (Late entries are subject to a 20.00 USD charge, payable by 1 July.)
Notification of short-listed essayists: 31 July, 2023.
Academic conference & awards dinners: September, 2023.
Any queries regarding the essay competition should be sent to [email protected] . Please be aware that, due to the large volume of correspondence we receive, we cannot guarantee to answer every query. In particular, questions whose answers can be found on our website will be ignored.
If you would like to be notified of the opening of registration for the essay competition,, please provide your email here to be added to our contact list..
Thanks for subscribing!
"I hope you will find this year's questions thought-provoking, and that you will be one of the thousands of contestants from over a hundred different countries to submit an essay to what has become the world's largest competition of its kind. Not only will the experience of researching and writing the essay be a valuable learning experience, but the shortlisted candidates will be invited to Oxford to join with other talented young people who have thought carefully about the same question, for a unique series of precepts under the experienced leadership of an academic expert."
Martin Cox, Director of the John Locke Institute
Q. Are footnotes or bibliography or reference list counted towards the word limit?
A. No. Only the body of the essay is counted.
Q. Are in-text citations counted towards the word limit?
A. If you are using an in-text based referencing format, such as APA, your in-text citations are included in the word limit.
Q. Should citations be footnotes or in-text citations?
A. We don't impose any rules for citations. We leave this to your discretion.
Q. Is it necessary to include footnotes in an essay?
A. You don’t need to include footnotes, but you should give your sources of any factual claims you make, and you should acknowledge any other authors on whom you rely.
Q. How strict are the age eligibility criteria?
A. Only students whose nineteenth birthday falls after 30 June 2023 will be eligible for a prize or a commendation. In the case of the Junior category, only students whose fifteenth birthday falls after 30 June 2023 will be eligible for a prize or a commendation.
Q. May I submit more than one essay?
A. Yes, you may submit as many essays as you please in any or all categories.
Q. Do I have to attend the awards ceremony to win a prize?
A. Nobody is required to attend the prize ceremony. You can win a prize without travelling to Oxford. But if we invite you to Oxford it is because your essay was good enough - in the opinion of the First Round judges - to be at least a contender for First, Second or Third Prize. Normally the Second Round judges will agree that the short-listed essays are worth at least a commendation.
Q. Is there an entry fee?
A. No. There is no charge to enter our global essay competition unless you submit your essay after the normal deadline, in which case there is a fee of 20.00 USD .
Q. Can I receive a certificate for my participation in your essay competition if I wasn't shortlisted?
A. No. Certificates are awarded only for shortlisted essays. Short-listed contestants who attend the award ceremony in Oxford will receive a paper certificate. If you cannot travel to Oxford, you will be able to download your eCertificate.
Q. Can I receive feedback on my essay?
A. We would love to be able to give individual feedback on essays but, unfortunately, we receive too many entries to be able to comment on particular essays.
The Trinity College Philosophy Essay Prize is open to Year 12 or Lower 6th students. The aim of the Prize is to encourage able sixth formers to pursue their
The Minds Underground™ Philosophy Essay Competition is aimed at students in Year 12 (though younger applicants are welcome). The competition provides
Take part in a Minds Underground 2023 U14 & Year 12 Essay Competitions! ... Essay Competitions Across Numerous Subjects: Economics, Politics, Philosophy
Eligibility. Anyone enrolled in a Canadian high school at or below the grade 12 level (or equivalent) may participate in the Aristotle Contest. Home-schooled
The Philosophy Essay Prize is open to Year 12 or Lower 6th students. The aim of the Prize is to encourage able sixth formers to pursue their interest in
Year 12 and 13 students are invited to take part in the University of Lincoln Philosophy Essay Competition. Essays should be 800-1200 words in length and answer
The. Lloyd. Davies. Philosophy. Prize. for. Year. 12. students ... Those who entered the 2022 essay competition answered the following questions:.
A Philosophy essay competition for years 12+13. Prizes for every entrant. Free to enter. Closing date: 20th February 2023.
We are delighted to announce the annual University of Sheffield Philosophy Essay Competition for Year 10, Year 11 and Year 12 students in the UK is now
Our Essay Competition invites students to explore a wide range of ... select an overall 'best essay' across the seven subjects: Philosophy