Philosophy Essay Writing Competition

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Philosophy Essay Competiton

Year 12 and 13 students are invited to take part in the University of Lincoln Philosophy Essay Competition. Essays should be 800-1200 words in length and answer one of the following questions:

  1. Can science explain conscious experience?
  2. Why is there something rather than nothing?
  3. Are persons morally responsible for their actions?
  4. Is it morally permissible to eat animals?

A first prize of a £100 Amazon voucher and four second prizes of £25 Amazon vouchers will be awarded. Other outstanding submissions will receive honourable mention.  

The essay should include a list of references at the end, giving the author name, title, and date of publication of all texts discussed in the essay. The list of references does not contribute to the word count.

Essays should be saved as ‘first name, last name, title’ so that the name of the author can be identified from the file name. Essays should be in Word or Open Office format. They should be submitted to Dr Ralph Weir at Your submission email must include:

  • Your name
  • Your year of study
  • Your school

The deadline for submissions is 30 September 2022. Entries will be judged by a panel of academic staff at the University of Lincoln. The results will be announced by 31 October 2022.

Entrants are encouraged to use resources such as the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy and the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy to research their question. Entrants who choose Question 1 may want to begin by reading Hedda Hassel Mørch’s article ‘Is Matter Conscious?’; for Question 2, Derek Parfit’s ‘Why Anything, Why This?’; for Question 3 Daniel Dennett and Gregg Caruso debate on free will; and for Question 4, University of Lincoln philosophers Gary Francione’s ‘We Must not Own Animals’ and Nick Zangwill’s ‘Why You Should Eat Meat’.

Please send any queries about the competition to

This competition is sponsored by the Humane Philosophy Project.

1. The promoter is: the University of Lincoln (known as ‘the University’). 

2. There is no entry fee to enter the competition. 

3. These terms and conditions apply to the “Philosophy Competition” run by the University of Lincoln. 

4. By entering this competition, an entrant is indicating his/her agreement to be bound by these terms and conditions. 

5. The winner will be chosen from the entries submitted between the launch date and deadline. 

6. Competition closes to entries on 30 September 2022 at 23:59.

7. All entries must be original and need to be submitted to Dr Ralph Weir via

8. No responsibility can be accepted for entries not received for whatever reason. 

9. Entries limited to 1 per person.

10. The winners will be contacted via email. 

11. The overall winner will receive a £100 Amazon voucher and four second-place winners will receive a £25 Amazon voucher each. 

12. No alternative to the prizes will be offered. 

13. Prizes are subject to availability and we reserve the right to substitute any prize with another of equivalent value without giving notice. 

14. The winner will be chosen by a panel of academic staff at the University of Lincoln. The judges’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into. 

15. If the winner cannot be contacted or does not claim the prize within 14 days of notification they will forfeit the prize. 

16. The promoter’s decision in respect of all matters to do with the competition will be final and no correspondence will be entered into. 

17. The entrant agrees to the use of his/her entry to be used in any publicity material and to feature on the University of Lincoln website. Any personal data relating to the winner or any other entrants will be used solely in accordance with current UK data protection legislation. 

18. The promoter reserves the right to cancel or amend the competition and these terms and conditions without notice at any time. Any changes to the competition will be notified to entrants as soon as possible by the promoter. 

19. The competition and these terms and conditions will be governed by English law and any disputes will be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England. 

20. Winning entries will be selected based on the quality of the essay as decided by a panel of academic staff at the University of Lincoln.