The Philosophy Essay Prize is an annual competition run by the School of Philosophy at North-West University. In order to enter, you have to be a student in our department. The competition has two categories: Undergraduate and Postgraduate. In each category, three prizes will be awarded: R2,000 for first prize, R1,500 for second prize, and R1,000 for third prize.

Application Information

Write an essay of around 1,500 – 2,000 words on one of the topics listed below. Essays must be typed, saved as a Word document and include a bibliography. The deadline for submissions is midnight, Friday 6 November 2020 and winners will be announced by Friday 4 December 2020. Please remember to keep a copy of your essay for your records.
Ms Danelle Fourie will conduct a writing workshop via Zoom on Friday, 9 October 2020. You should have a draft ready to work with on this day. More details will be given closer to the time.


You may submit an essay on any of the topics below:
You may write a general essay based on any work you completed this year. For example, if you had to write an essay on Spinoza, you may rework that essay for this competition. It is important, however, that you revise the essay and not just hand it in as is.
Using any of the philosophers, you studied this year, write an essay in which you explain how this philosopher might be used to understand certain aspects related to the current COVID-19 pandemic. You might, for example, write about ethics about health technologies and class stratifications; issues of Eurocentricity; notions of personhood (for example, as they relate to quarantining practices); or any other philosophical notion, such as metaphysics, ontology, epistemology, and so on. You may even want to comment on issues related to environmental philosophy.

How to Submit

All essays should be submitted via email with PHILOSOPHY ESSAY COMPETITION in the subject line. In the body of the email, include the following information:
Title of essay / Name and surname / Student number / Email address / Category (state “Undergraduate” or “Postgraduate”).
DO NOT put your name or any other personal information on the Word document that contains your essay as entries will be judged anonymously.
Entries should be emailed to Prof. Gray.