You like philosophy? You attend a Swiss secondary school? Then participate in the Swiss Philosophy Olympiad and write a philosophical essay (500 to 1000 words) on one of the following topics by November 30, 2021:


  1. Who owns nature?
  2. Is it irrational to act against one’s own preferences?
  3. “But every error is due to extraneous factors (such as emotion and education); reason itself does not err.” Kurt Gödel
  4. “Discovering my own identity doesn't mean that I work it out in isolation, but that I negotiate it through dialogue, partly overt, partly internal, with others.” Charles Taylor


Conditions of participation

You can participate in the Philosophy Olympiad if you:

  • attend a secondary school in Switzerland or the Principality of Liechtenstein (e.g. grammar school, vocational school, secondary school, international high school),

  • or, being a Swiss or Liechtenstein national or resident, attend a foreign school.

Anyone who is attending a university before the reference date is not admitted. Anyone who has reached the age of 20 on the reference date may participate in the national selection but is not eligible for participation in the International Philosophy Olympiad.


The complete terms and conditions can be found here.

Evaluation criteria

In order to participate you do not need to know Plato's works inside out, nor do you need years of philosophy classes behind you. It is important that when writing you pay attention to coherence (arguing coherently and without contradiction) and persuasiveness (substantiating claims). By thinking up your own examples, you show originality. We want to know how you think! Further criteria for a good essay are relevance (keeping the direct relation to the topic) and context (placing the topic in its philosophical, not historical context). Further tips can be found in the IPO writing guide.


The essays are evaluated anonymously by students and teachers of philosophy.


After the semi-finals in January and the final, which will be held in Berne in March, the two best participants have the opportunity to participate in the International Philosophy Olympiad (IPO). Exact dates can be found in the agenda.


To participate, simply fill out the form below, attach your essay as a Word or pdf document and send it off! The document should not contain any reference (name, school, etc.) to you, not even in the document name! Our data protection policy explain what we do with your data. Teachers may please use the same form to enter the essay files and the information about their students (use a new form for each student). 


Do you need specific assistance for your participation due to a physical impairment, handicap or chronic illness? Find out more about how we can support your participation here and get in touch with us. We will do our best to ensure that everyone can participate fairly.


ATTENTION: If you submitted an essay before 09/14, it did not arrive due to a technical error with the form. Please contact


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