Philosophy Essay Prize

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


  • About you

  • About your school

  • Your Entry

  • Accepted file types: doc, docx, pdf.
  • 1. I hereby give permission to Trinity College, Cambridge (‘the College’) and those authorised by the College to use the essay I submit (‘Essay’) (with due acknowledgement of my authorship) throughout the world for the full period of copyright, including all renewals, reversions, extensions and revivals of such period, in the following ways: a) storing, publishing or transmitting the Essay in College internal archives and databases; and b) exhibiting, publishing or transmitting the Essay in print, on DVD or other digital media and on the Internet at College websites and College-affiliated websites; and c) distributing the Essay to the press, media organisations and other interested parties for publication, transmission or broadcast.] 2. The information provided in this form is used for the administration of the Philosophy Essay Prize and is managed and stored in accordance with the UK Data Protection Act 1998 For data storage purposes, the College may store electronically the information outside the European Economic Area. 3. This agreement shall be governed in all respects by English law.
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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)