Major Philosophy Event for Pre-College Students Held Online This Year


The 2020 Australasian Philosothon—“an event that encourages school students to investigate ethical and philosophical questions in the context of ‘communities of inquiry’”—took place at the end of last month.

The philosophy competition usually takes place in person and was originally scheduled to take place at Wesley College this year, but it was instead conducted online, over Zoom, owing to the pandemic.

Matthew Wills, the creator and organizer of Philosothon, said the online format worked well.

165 students from 21 schools, as well as 40 academics, took part. The students, as young as 14 years old, engage in two days of “intense argument and collaboration.” The topics for this year’s Philosothon were: The Trolley Problem and Implications, The Case of the Four Causes, Sorry Mr Spock Science & Emotion Are Not Only Compatible They’re Inseparable, and Philosophical Scepticism.

Participants are assessed according to a rubric and given individual and team scores. Here are the results from this year’s competition:

2020 Philosothon Team Results

Philosothon 2020 Individual Results

The Australasian Association of Philosophy (AAP) has supported the event for many years and this year was, for the first time, the official host of it. Going forward, it will be taking over the hosting and organizing of the Philosothon.

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