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 2020/2021 and write a philosophical essay (500 to 1000 words) on one of the following topics by November 30, 2020:


1. Is it justified to spend the available resources on saving the life of one specific person, rather than using them to provide smaller benefits to many people?

2. Why should we trust experts?

3. „Thus it is correctly said that the senses do not err; yet not because they always judge correctly, but because they do not judge at all.“ (Immanuel Kant, Critique of Pure Reason)

4. „Oppressive language does more than represent violence; it is violence.“ (Toni Morrison, Nobel prize speech 1993)


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 14th 2021 and the final, which will be held in Berne (March 18th - 22nd 2021), 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). 


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