Essay Prize for Year 12/Lower 6th

The Edgar Jones Philosophy Essay Competition


The judges were impressed with all the entries received this year and are looking forward to a similarly strong field next year. The winners were: Top Prize: Benjamin Woolf, Charterhouse, Surrey. Second Prize: Katharine Emden, North London Collegiate School.


St Peter's College has established two essay prizes in Philosophy, the top prize being to the value of £250, the second prize being to the value of £150. In addition to monetary prizes, all submitted essays which in the opinion of the judges are of a high enough standard will be commended. (Sadly, other academic obligations prevent the judges offering more substantive engagement with entrants.) The prizes will be advertised annually.

The aims of the prizes are to provide for students in Year 12 or the Lower 6th an opportunity to write about a philosophical issue and thereby, it is hoped, enable them to develop their abilities for independent research and thought and encourage them to apply for an undergraduate course with Philosophy as an element.

Criteria for Entering the Competition

Entrants must be in Year 12 (or Lower 6th year) at their school or college during the academic year 2013-14. Essays must be a maximum of 2000 words in length and must be submitted in hardcopy. Essays must seek to answer one of the questions set for the year (see below) and should contain the full name of the author on the first page. Accompanying the essay entrants must submit a completed entry form, which can be downloaded here. Submissions should be sent to Alison Wiblin, Fellow’ Secretary, St Peter’s College, Oxford, OX1 2DL, to arrive by the closing date.

Criteria for Assessment

In assessing the essays, the judges will reward clarity of thought and expression and cogency in argumentation.

Questions for the 2014 competition:

1) Does the fact that our senses can deceive mean that we can have no perceptual knowledge?

2) Could you be a bad person and yet do the right thing all the time?

Closing Date

The closing date for submissions this year is 12 September 2014. It is hoped to notify winners by the beginning of October.