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Semifinal 2020/2021

43 young philosophers met online on the 14th of january to discuss philosophical questions and write essays. 12 of them qualified for the virtual final in March - and for an in person camp, which will hopefully be held later this year.

Screenshot: Philosophy Olympiad

Screenshot: Philosophy Olympiad

What is art? Does God exist? 

Due to the pandemic, this year's semifinal had to be held online. On the 14th of january, the 43 participants were invited to join from home or from their school. The volunteers adapted to the situation and made the best of it. After the essay writing in the morning, three workshops were held in the afternoon. Conradin Schindler, last year's finalist and now a philosophy student at the University of Zurich, discussed the question "What is art?" with the 15 participants who were originally meant to travel to Wetzikon for the semifinal. Philosophy Olympiad volunteer Rafaela Schinner, who studies at the University of Fribourg, discussed proofs of God with the students who would have spent the day in Immensee if the semifinal had taken place in person. Stéphanie Gomes, vice-president of the Philosophy Olympiad and student at the University of Geneva, organized a workshop for the french-speaking participants about how authorial intent influences the meaning of a work of literature.


Four topics

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


  1. Do dictionaries determine what words mean?
  2. Is there a hierarchy of sciences?
  3. Is natural always better?
  4. Do parents have a duty to give their child as many opportunities as possible?


Hoping for another philosophical summer camp

The essays were graded anonymously by teachers and students of philosophy who volunteered their free time to help the Philosophy Olympiad. Thank you for your work!


The authors of the 12 best essays have been invited to a virtual final. On March 19 in the evening, the participants will be able to participate in an essay writing workshop in preparation for the essay contest, which will be held on Saturday morning. On Sunday morning, the 21st, the results will be announced. The social aspect of the Philosophy Olympiad is of course just as important as the competitive part, therefore a philosophical summer camp (similar to the final replacement camp of 2020) will be held as soon as the pandemic allows.


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


BengüKarabiyikCollège de Gambach
Jessica HauserKantonsschule Zürcher Oberland
KarthikSasikaranKantonsschule Zürcher Oberland
LilyWatanabeKantonsschule Hohe Promenade
LouTroxlerGymnasium Lerbermatt
MichaelCarnogurskyLeysin American School
NityaRajanCollège St-Michel
NoahRosenbaumGymnasium Oberwil
PhilippBurkhardtGymnasium Kirchenfeld
TinaHitzblechGymnasium Bern-Hofwil
YannikKroneCollège de Gambach
YuhuaGaoHull's School Ltd.


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