You like philosophy? You go to school at a Swiss secondary school and are younger than twenty years old? Then participate in the Swiss Philosophy Olympiad 2019/20 and write a philosophical essay (500 to 1000 words) on one of the following topics by November 30, 2019:


  1. „A thing is not just, because it is law, but it must be law because it is just.“ (Montesquieu)
  2. If our parents have the moral obligation to raise us, do we owe something to them?
  3. „At the ground of all well-grounded belief lies belief that is ungrounded.“ (Ludwig Wittgenstein)
  4. What requires more courage: not to believe in God or to believe in God?


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.


After the semi-finals on January 9th and the final, which will be held in Berne in March 2020, the two best participants will travel to the International Philosophy Olympiad (IPO), which will be held in Lisbon in May.


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!


For teachers: Please use the same form to enter the essay files and the information about your students (use a new form for each student). Please also inform us about the number of students that have written an essay in total.


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