Monday, June 12, 2017

APO Team in Rotterdam for IPO 2017

The American Delegation to the IPO in Rotterdam. From l to r, Frank Murphy, Associate Delegate, Anna Stoneman and Gustavo Berho, APO 2017 winners, and Joseph Murphy, USA Delegation Leader.
From 25 to 28 May 2017, the 25th International Philosophy Olympiad took place in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. No less than 95 competitors from 45 countries participated in this Olympiad. The Organizing Committee, as well as the local and national partners, are proud to look back on a very successful event. They have made a short film to document the events within the full Olympiad. I present it to you here with thanks to the full team of professors, teachers, professional organizers and volunteers from Rotterdam.

All footage by Rachel Visscher, music by Tom Nestelaar. This video is also available on Youtube: #ipotolerance

Memories of hundreds of people from 45 nations are fresh and full of joy from the wonderful IPO2017 in Rotterdam. Stories are now being shared in the home countries of the extraordinary people who took part in the Olympiad in The Netherlands. Congratulations to our two American winners. Cheers to all my friends from the IPO! I look forward to seeing all of you again next year in Montenegro for IPO2018.

To read more about this wonderful event and about the IPO in general go to and/or

Sunday, May 21, 2017

USA Delegation To IPO Is Ready To Go

The USA delegation to the International Philosophy Olympiad will be leaving for Rotterdam, The Netherlands on Tuesday evening May 23, 2017. The two APO winners are Anna Stoneman from Wisconsin and and Gustavo Berho the State of Washington. They will be writing an original philosophical essay on Friday competing with high school students from 45 other countries. The 46 National Delegations will also attend lectures on the theme of the IPO conference; TOLERANCE. We will also be doing philosophical tours of the hometown of Desiderius Erasmus and visiting the world famous shipyard there. This is a once in a lifetime chance for students from around the world to get together to have some serious fun and share stories and perspectives of their lives.

Check out the website of the event:

Wish us luck.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

APO 2017 Essay Contest Results

We're Going To Rotterdam 

The choice of the two top essays this year was very difficult. But our judges have finally made their decisions and we have confirmed the APO 2017 winners. They are Gustavo Berho from Washington state and Anna Stoneman from Wisconsin.

If you are not yet a senior in High School as of the date of this post, you will be able to participate in the APO 2018. Announcements for it will be published on this blog, the first blog address given below. On that same blog spot you will be able to read about the IPO 2017. Also, the format for the APO 2018 might be a little different and the topics will be different from the APO 2017, so read the AP-CP blog to be informed about that when the time comes in the fall.

I thank all of those who participated in the APO 2017. Thank you for your efforts to write and submit a philosophical essay to the APO. Bright students like this year’s contestants need critical and philosophical thinking to see beyond the limits of your common core of subjects in high school. Philosophical training and thinking will help high school students to go into an unknown future and make it better than any of their teachers know how to now.

I encourage all of this year’s contestants and, indeed, all of my readers to keep reading and ‘doing’ philosophy. Share your thoughts with your friends and always remember that some other people always know more than we do. But through dialogue we can all learn from each other.

By the way, you may all become a members of the AP-CP blog. The more members we have, the bigger voice we have to speak up for pre-college philosophy in the USA.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

How To Write a Philosophy Essay

"How To Write a Philosophy Essay
A Guide for IPO Contestants

Many guides exist on how to write a good philosophy paper. This guide is tailored to suit contestants competing in the annual IPO essay contest but it uses many of the same strategies employed in guides written by renowned philosophy professors from around the world. It is not intended to be a guarantee for writing an award-winning essay at the IPO. Rather, it outlines one method that can direct your efforts toward writing a sound, logical, persuasive essay."

This is how the new guide begins. It has just been published on the Netherlands' International Philosophy Olympiad website at As of today, 25 January, 2017, it is also published on the IPO website. Go to where you can also find it. You may consult it at anytime except at the IPO essay contest itself.

Good luck to high school students from the approximately 50 countries from around the world who are expected to send students to the IPO 2017 in Rotterdam. See you there!

May 25 — 28, 2017
The Netherlands

Friday, January 6, 2017

APO 2017 Brochure and Essay Topics

Here is the 2017 APO Brochure followed by this year's topics.

The due date is February 17, 2017.

Here are the four question choices or topics for the 2017 APO. You may choose any one -- there is no preference or advantage to choosing one over the other -- and write an essay about it in French, German, or Spanish. Then carefully follow the directions in the brochure. If you'd like me to send you an original brochure, email or call me [201-227-3265] and leave your name and address. 

Chose one of the following topics and construct a well-reasoned, thorough and convincing philosophical argument in reaction to one of the following topics:

1.     Is there danger or irresistible beauty in creating artificial intelligence in any container that has the capacity to think for itself, learn on its own and replicate human cognition?

2.     Who or what am I?

3.     Human Consciousness shapes, informs and determines reality. Reality is dependent upon human consciousness. There is no reality apart from human consciousness.

4.     Is an act right because God commands it or because it is right?

Suggestion: Before you write your essay, studying the guide “How to Write a Philosophy Essay: A Guide for IPO Contestants” is highly recommended. Click on the link below.

Monday, December 26, 2016

APO 2016 Results & IPO Ghent

The cover of the student & faculty schedule.
Contrary to what you might expect, French, German, and Spanish are the official languages of the American Philosophy Olympiad (APO). This is because the International Philosophy Olympiad (IPO) requires essayists to write in a language other than their own national one. In the USA, our de facto national language is English. The judges of this essay contest are teachers and professors of language and philosophy. For the 2016 APO contest we received essays in all three APO official languages. French essays have been among the winners in years past and although German essays have been received they have not yet been among the winning essays. In 2016 the judges chose two essays from among the Spanish essays to represent the USA in Belgium at the IPO.

The winners of the APO 2016 were Caroline Norfleet and Anna Stoneman. Caroline is from the Oakwood Friends School in Poughkeepsie, NY (see what OFS write about her on their website: Anna is from the Stanford Online High School in California (, but Anna lives in Wisconsin. Their prize was to represent the USA in Ghent, Belgium and to spend 4 days with more than 90 students their own age who study philosophy in 44 countries around the world.

Here is a film I have just received (June 2017) reflecting on the IPO2016 in Ghent, Belgium. Enjoy it:

For the results of the IPO 2016, you may go to the IPO website, click on the following link or type it in on your browser: At this site you will also find information about IPO 2017, the 25th IPO, which will be held in the city of Rotterdam, the Netherlands at the end of May 2017.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

APO Results Coming Next Week

Sometime during the week of April 11th you will see the results of APO 2016 in this Blog. For the moment, here's a short newspaper clip from my Bangladeshi friend, Salim Miah, about the IPO 2015. The article is from the "Dhaka Tribune." I especially like the unique and delightful description of philosophy and the rather intimate protrayal of the experience that our student friend and young plhilosoher from Bangladesh had. That was last year in Estonia, but it was very similar for all the students in Estonia and it has been this way for more than two decades now. Enjoy the article: Dhaka Tribune article about IPO Estonia 2015.

This year Salim and one or two of his new students will be joining us in Belgium. We'll be gathering in Ghent, as you may already know, with participants from more than 40 countries.

Watch for our big news next week.