Philosophy Essay Competition Uk

The Philosophy Essay Prize is open to Year 12 or Lower 6th students. The aim of the Prize is to encourage able sixth formers to pursue their interest in Philosophy, with the hope that they will be encouraged to read this or related subjects at University.

The questions for the 2018 competition are as follows:

  • If AI ever gets to the point of making robots as intelligent as us, won’t forcing them to work for us be just as bad as slavery?
  • Can you change your race?
  • From our perspective, it is convenient to group stars together, and say that these stars make up one constellation and those stars make up another. But the stars in a constellation have nothing in common apart from the fact that we can conveniently group them together. Suppose someone says that no system of classification can ever be more objective than the grouping of stars into constellations. How would you reply?
  • You can decide to do something tomorrow but not to have done it yesterday. Why this contrast?

Candidates are invited to submit an essay of between 2,000 and 4,000 words.  Entries must be submitted online by Thursday 31 May 2018 using the form below. 

The competition carries a First Prize of £600 and a Second Prize of £400, to be split equally between the candidate and his or her school or college; the school or college’s portion of the prize to be issued in the form of book tokens.

All candidates will be notified with the results of the competition around the end of July.  Any queries should be directed to the Admissions Administrator, Ms Stacey Smith, at


Past Prize-winners


1st Prize: Omodunni Bello (Sherborne School for Girls)
2nd Prize: Max Johnston (Uppingham School)


1st Prize: Conor O’Shea (Harrow School)
2nd Prize: Lila Mendoza (Sevenoaks School)


1st Prize: Harry Lloyd (Monmouth Comprehensive School)
2nd Prize: Kartik Prabhu (Westminster School)


1st Prize: Christopher Banks (King’s College School, Wimbledon)
2nd Prize: Eleanor Holton (The Stephen Perse Foundation Sixth Form, Cambridge)


1st Prize: Jeremy Khoo (Raffles Institution, Singapore)
Joint 2nd Prize: Phoebe Bright (St Paul’s Girls’ School)
Joint 2nd Prize: Rory Turnbull (Hereford Cathedral School)


1st Prize: Keith Wynroe (De La Salle College, Macroom)
2nd Prize: Nina Maras (Latymer Upper School)


1st Prize: Kacper Kowalczyk (Dulwich College)
2nd Prize: Alice Carter (Canford School)


1st Prize: Ding Hui (Raffles Institution)
2nd Prize: Timothy Wickenden (The Sixth Form College, Farnborough)


1st Prize: Rosie Illingworth (Oundle School)
2nd Prize: Joshua Brown (University College School)


1st Prize: Annie Hawes (Henrietta Barnett School)
2nd Prize: Robert Dixon (Oundle School)

BSHP Annual Graduate Student Essay Prize

About the Graduate Student Essay Prize

The BSHP Graduate Student Essay Prize of £1000 is awarded annually to the writer of an essay that makes a significant contribution to the history of philosophy. In exceptional cases, more than one essay may be jointly awarded the Prize, and the prize money divided between them. The competition is open to postgraduate students who are in full- or part-time education for at least six months in the year prior to the deadline for submission. Where the winning entry is deemed of sufficient quality and significance, it may also be considered for publication in the British Journal for the History of Philosophy. The winner is chosen by a subcommittee of the BSHP Management Committee, which may request opinion from external experts on the entries. The Prize winner is announced at the BSHP annual spring conference.

How to Enter the Competition

  • Entry is open to students of any nationality registered at any university in any country, studying any subject. Entrants do not need to be members of the BSHP.
  • Essays may be on any aspect of the history of philosophy.
  • Essays that have been published or accepted for publication will not be considered. Essays that have been submitted to journals, but not yet accepted for publication, will be considered.
  • Entries should be in English, and should not exceed 10,000 words in length (including footnotes, bibliography, and abstract).
  • Each entry must be accompanied by an abstract of around 300 words. Entries that are too long or without an abstract will not be considered.
  • Each entry should be prepared for blind refereeing: there should be no reference to the author, either by name or department. Any references to the author’s own work, for example, should be given in such a form as not to identify the author.
  • Entries must be made through the submissions portal for the British Journal for the History of Philosophy: . In your covering letter, state that your entry is a submission for the Graduate Student Essay Prize and provide your name, institution, address, and statement of your postgraduate student status (including details of the university where you are registered and the name(s) of your supervisor(s).
  • Please note that a submission to the essay prize does not constitute or entail a submission to the journal.

Submissions for the 2017 Prize will be accepted until 31 December 2017. If you have any questions, please contact Beth Lord: Please do not submit your essay to this email address.

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