Semifinal 2021/2022

On January 13, 46 young philosophers participated in four local semifinals in Fribourg, St. Gallen, Wetzikon and Immensee to write essays and participate in philosophical workshops. 13 of them qualified for the final in March!

Some impressions from one of the four semifinals: At Collège de Gambach in Fribourg, volunteer Stephanie Deig held a workshop on the philosophy of gender.

The students had two hours to write about one of the four topics.

A year of many "firsts"

It was a premiere: For the very first time, the Swiss Philosophy Olympiad's semifinal took place in four instead of three places simultaneously. The fourth semifinal was added to adapt the ratio of semifinalists to the rising number of first round participants. The Kantonsschule am Burggraben in St. Gallen hosted a semifinal for the first time (organised by 2020 gold medalist turned volunteer, Severin Rohrer) as did the Collège de Gambach in Fribourg, which would have already hosted the semifinal last year if it could have taken place in person. In addition to these new schools, the Kantonschule Wetzikon and the Gymnasium Immensee hosted their semifinals for another year. Due to local Covid measures, the Immensee semifinal moved online. A few students from other semifinals also participated from home due to quarantine or isolation. The in-person semifinals required a Covid certificate as well as mandatory masks. We thank the local teachers at the hosting schools, as well as the workshop leaders and jury volunteers, who dedicate their free time to make the semifinal possible!


Four topics

The participants of the first round could choose from one of the four topics:

  1. Can we willingly control our beliefs?
  2. Should "the right of non-human primates to life and to physical and mental integrity" be added to the fundamental rights guaranteed by the constitution, as demanded by an initiative in the canton of Basel? (Source:  Position paper of the initiative "Basic rights for primates”)
  3. Should truth be our highest value?
  4. Where does one cloud end and another begin?


See you in Bern (hopefully)!

After anonymous grading, the top essays were identified. Their authors have been invited to the final, which will take place from March 10 to 13 in Bern. We hope that the pandemic will evolve favourably and that after two years of virtual finals, we will be able to meet, discuss, write and explore in person again. The two winners of the final qualify for the International Philosophy Olympiad, which is currently being planned as an in-person event as well.



The following participants qualified for the final (in alphabetic order):


Philipp Altmann Gymnasium am Münsterplatz
Florian Angéloz Collège de Gambach
Leonardo Francesco Calmetta Istituto Elvetico Salesiani Don Bosco
Mathys Douma Lycée cantonal Porrentruy
Laurine Frauchiger Kantonsschule Wil
Nicolas Hatt Kantonsschule Zürcher Oberland
Bode Obwegeser Kantonsschule Wil
Sarah Pritscher Gymnasium Lerbermatt
Aline Rihm Gymnasium Hofwil
Noah Rosenbaum Gymnasium Oberwil
Dominik Steiger Kantonale Maturitätsschule für Erwachsene KME Zürich
Julia Zając Istituto Elvetico Salesiani Don Bosco
Thomas Zaugg Gymnasium Kirchenfeld