|The APO is sponsored by the American Philosophical Association.|
This year the XXXI IPO will meet in person in Olympia, Greece.
The American Philosophy Open (APO) is a pre-college Philosophy writing contest for U.S. students that is connected to the wider world of international philosophy. Students compete by writing philosophical essays on specific topics and the top two writers from the USA will be chosen to compete in the International Philosophy Olympiad (IPO). The two US student winners will then join their international peers from high schools from 50 countries in Olympia, Greece in the 31st annual IPO. The APO's and IPO's mission for HS students is to contribute to the development of inquiring, critical, creative, and international thinking.
There are two stages of submissions to the APO, which means two essays. To enter the contest, an interested American High School student, residing and studying in the U.S.A., writes their first essay in English and then submits it via email to the APO. All submitted essays are then reviewed by the APO panel to see which essays meet the criteria for the second stage of the competition. At this stage, the panel reviews the candidate's skill at writing about a philosophical question, problem or issue. If a student's essay meets the criteria, they will be invited by email to the second stage of the competition. For the second stage of the competition, the student will be invited to write an essay in French, German, or Spanish. No contestant may write the IPO essay in the national language of the country they are representing as per the rules of the IPO. High School students studying in the USA may not write in English at the IPO. This means that it is necessary, but not sufficient for an American student to be an excellent writer developing philosophical thinking and writing in English. Moreover, they must also be able to convey these ideas and concepts in their chosen target language—French, German, or Spanish—as well. The second stage essay will be written in the student’s target language live on a Google Doc while being proctored by APO staff.
After the Stage 2 essays are written in French, German, or Spanish, the panel will choose the two student essays that demonstrate the strongest philosophical thinking in the language that the student has chosen. Final selection for the two U.S.A. winners may include an interview with a member of the APO board via video conference (Zoom). In addition, winners must submit a permission letter from their parents / guardians and from their school principal to travel to Greece between the dates of May 9th and May 15th, 2023. Potential national winners must also be willing to participate in a video (Zoom) conference along with at least one of their parents / guardians and the Director of the APO before the selection of a national winner can be declared. This is a significant and exciting process that the committee takes very seriously. We encourage you to apply to take advantage of this incredible opportunity.
|The first two APO winners of the 21st Century;|
Kelly and Andy in Vienna, Austria in 2011
- be U.S. citizens or permanent residents and current high school students in the USA and
- have a valid, current passport with an expiration date not sooner than December 2023
- participate in a high school philosophy class, club, Ethics Bowl Team, or core subject with a philosophical bent or concentration
- be highly proficient in any one of three of the four official languages of the IPO; French, German, or Spanish.
Submit an essay via email in English of approximately 800 words (but no more than 50 words more or less than 800) that responds to one of two philosophy topics. (See below.)
Deadline for the English Essay Submission is Sunday March 26, 2023.
Finalists from Stage 1 will compete in a 3-hour timed essay online in which the students must write an essay in French, German, or Spanish on a philosophy topic revealed at the beginning of the online session.
Finalists Online Contest Date is April 1, 2023 / Alternate Online Contest Date is April 2, 2023.
There is no cost to apply. The APO assumes all implementation and processing cost and this year there is no registration fee. For our two APO winners, the IPO host country pays for all in-country expenses (meals and lodging). However, our two APO winners must be able to cover the cost of their own transportation to and from the IPO host country venue, which is Olympia (and possibly one or two nights in Athens), Greece. If necessary, contestants are encouraged to seek sponsor support—with or beyond family—from the community, corporate, and/or educational institutions.
The two victorious 2023 APO contestants win the opportunity to travel to Olympia, Greece to share a once-in-a-lifetime experience networking face-to-face with other high school students from around the world and meeting some important world-renowned philosophers. Winners of the APO through the IPO competition receive international recognition by UNESCO, the Federation of International Philosophy Societies (FISP), and other international philosophy organizations—honors that will make the student, their parents, friends, school, and community very proud.
The IPO will be celebrated in Greece this May. The theme of the event is "A Life in Fair Competition." You may search the website here.
APO Topics for 2023
Here are the two topics for APO Stage 1
The writer may choose either one. This is not a research paper, so please do not use any sources, Generative AI (ChatGPT, for example) or research tools, or literature. Writers must do only their own thinking.
For a session at the annual Eastern conference of the American Philosophical Association held in Montreal in 2023, one of the presenters wrote a paper from which we have extracted two quotations, which have become our two APO topics this year. Please choose one of the quotations and write about whether you agree or disagree with the viewpoint expressed and why?
TOPIC 1 OF 2
“Our culture … seems to imagine that philosophers are born and not made. We are nurtured in the cradle, climb out and go straight to the Ivory Tower. This is an unfortunate stereotype that hurts philosophers as much as it does the general public and pre-college students particularly.”
TOPIC 2 0F 2
“Every academic discipline is rooted in philosophical thinking from mathematics and the quantification of the universe as we see it to creative literature and art as we imagine it. There are implicit and explicit questions in the very nature of our academic organization of life. A person’s self-concept, understanding of the world and human behavior are all molded by the philosophical thinking and wonder implicit in our subject matters. Indeed, it is a sense of wonder and philosophical investigation that structures our consciousness, shapes our world and helps to give rise to culture.”
Important Submission Information
Please submit your essay in either PDF Format (.pdf) or MS Word Format (.docx) written in Times New Roman, font size 12, double line spacing. Send it as an attachment to an email message. Write the following in the subject line of your email: APO 2023 Stage 1 Essay.
Be sure to include the following information on a cover page accompanying the essay. But please do not include any of this information on the essay itself except for the topic chosen (Topic 1 or Topic 2) and the writer's initials.
- the writer's full name
- the writer's school's name and full address
- the school principal's full name
- the language (French, German, or Spanish) in which the Stage 2 essay will be written
- the estimated target langue proficiency of the writer--academic (e.g., Spanish 4 years orAP French) and/or heritage speaker (e.g., speaks Spanish at home) or native speaker
- the topic chosen for this essay (on the cover page and on the first page of the essay)
- a very brief personal introduction
Submit essays to the APO's official email address: PhilosophyAPO@gmail.com
For additional information about the IPO and to view sample essays, visit the International Philosophy Olympiad at www.philosophy-olympiad.org
Bonne chance! Viel Glück! ¡Buena suerte!