GUIDE

PREPARATION

If you would like to learn more about how to write a persuasive and clear philosophy essay, make sure you check out the following blog post by one of our students which provides you with a list of useful resources on writing an argumentative piece:

CEU Philosophy Research and Publish Lab

THE COMPETITION

At the beginning of the essay event, participants will be given four prompts, i.e., short quotations from philosophical works. Students must choose one topic, identify a philosophical problem implicit in it, and write an essay explaining their coherent and well-argued position on the issue (ca. 1000 words). Familiarity with the context of the quotation is not a requirement, instead, emphasis will be put on how well the student understood the problem at hand, as well as the clarity of thought and persuasiveness of the argument manifested by the essay.

Below are two examples of such a quotation. Please note that these examples do not necessarily reflect the topics/areas of philosophy that will be covered by the prompts provided at the essay event.

"Suppose you're hypnotized to feel pain. Someone may say that you're not really in pain, that the pain is illusory, because you haven't really suffered any bodily damage. The reply is immediate. Truly to seem to feel pain just is to be in pain. It's not possible to open up the gap between appearance and reality here—between what is and what seems. If you're doubled up on the ground because you've been hypnotized to believe that you've been shot in the stomach, or that your children have been murdered, we have a moral reason to end the hypnosis, because the experience is real and awful." ― Galen Strawson

"I do not believe that changes and transformations, such as the new symbolic system of women, can be created by sheer volition. The way to transform psychic reality is not by willful self-naming; at best that is an extreme form of narcissism, at worst it is the melancholic face of solipsism. Rather, transformation can only be achieved through de-essentialized embodiment or strategically re-essentialized embodiment: by working through the multilayered structures of one's embodied self." ― Rosi Braidotti