The Aristotle Contest: a high school philosophy essay contest

Published: February 5, 2018

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We’re pleased to announce that we’re relaunching The Aristotle, our philosophy essay contest for high school students. We’ll be awarding cash prizes for the finest philosophical work by current Canadian high school students!

If you’re a high school student, educator, parent, or community organizer interested in the contest, head over to the contest page to get all the details about eligibility, prizes, entry instructions, and more. If you want to let others know about the contest, you can view, share, download, or print the contest poster.

Submissions in both English and French are welcome, and home schooled students may also participate in addition to students registered at a secondary educational institution.

Three questions are posted for this year’s contest; contestants must choose only one.

  1. Researchers in artificial intelligence are building smarter and smarter machines. Is it possible for
    a machine to have genuinely human-like intelligence? If not, why not ? If so, what ways of creating such a machine would be morally permissible? Would it have moral rights? Defend your answer.
  2. De gustibus non est disputandum—there is no disputing about taste, as the old saying has it. Well, is it true? Are there objective truths about beauty and other aesthetic matters? Or are all such judgments merely subjective? Defend your answer.
  3. Heredity and environment—our genes and the way we were brought up—play a big role in determining what kind of people we’ll be. Indeed, there are those who think that everything about us, including what actions we perform, is completely decided by heredity and environment. Are they right? And if they are, is there room for free will? Defend your answer.

The submission deadline for entries is May 25, 2018. On the contest page, you’ll also find information about who assesses the entries and how. You can also take a look at previous years’ winners (the contest was last run in 2010).

Well, high schoolers—what are you waiting for? Get those wheels turning and those keyboards typing! We look forward to reading your diverse and thoughtful essays soon.

Best of luck to all entrants!