GOLD MEDAL: Deniz Saraç
I am a 3rd-year student in the Philosophy Department of Middle East Technical University, interested mainly in metaphysics and the philosophy of mind. I am also interested in (although not necessarily any good at) many other things, among them music composition and performance, computer science, art, powerlifting, and chess.
I thought the event was very stimulating and provided a fertile environment for coming up with new ideas. My tip for future participants is to focus on making a cogent and well-articulated (not necessarily in terms of language but rather in terms of philosophical precision) case for their position and to have fun playing with some new ideas.
SILVER MEDAL: Qiyuan Feng
I'm currently a sophomore at Brandeis University with an undeclared major, but I intend to double major in Philosophy & Physics/Computer Science. Philosophy to me is like chew toys to dogs. A dog could live a life without a chew toy, but this life would be uninteresting, and the dog would be in anxiety.
Given that it's a competition I chose the prompt that I thought I would have the most to say about. I am not a very quick writer, and I spent a lot of time thinking back and forth to make sure I will be making valid and meaningful points. Although my essay was short, I did make sure the ideas made in them are clear and the arguments meaningful. So, if there's any advice I would give to future participants: don't write for the sake of the word count. The writing experience was great and I'm grateful that CEU has hosted this contest.
BRONZE MEDAL: Radu-Andrei Ghita
My first extensive contact with philosophy was in Romania during high school when I attended the Center of Excellence in Philosophy – a year-long course in history of philosophy, logic, and Ancient Greek. I am now a third-year BA Philosophy student at UCL, writing my dissertation on philosophy of mathematics, with high hopes of joining Academia someday.
The essay competition was a very challenging experience, as it was very different from what I was used to. Being faced with a topic on the spot and not being able to do your research and spend time thinking about it really pushes your analytical thinking skills and argumentation abilities. If there is something I can recommend to future competitors, it would probably be to make sure that they are familiar with the structure of a philosophy essay so that they can devote the entire time at the competition to developing a good argument.