Eltham College Sixth Form student, Alexander, has recently been highly commended on two of his essay entries for Minds Underground Philosophy Essay Competition, which received over 1400 applicants from around the world, as well as being among the top 5% of applicants for the Sheffield University Philosophy Essay competition. Alexander is planning to study philosophy at University and later convert to law.

Here’s what Alexander has to say about this great achievement;

I recently found out that I was highly commended and among the top 5% of applicants for the Sheffield University Philosophy Essay competition. The competition set out a number of possible questions, from which you chose to answer. My essay was on “Should we believe in free will?’ and I argued that whether free will really existed or did not matter; it only mattered that we believe in it. The consequences of not doing so are detrimental to society. I really enjoyed writing about the topic and am glad that the judges liked my essay too. The judges were some of the leading professors at the university.

I was contacted regarding the results of the Minds underground philosophy essay competition. For all competition categories run by them, there were over 1400 applicants from around the world. It was great to be one of only 4 people who were highly commended, and to come so close to winning the philosophy essay competition. The essay I wrote on was “When someone is old and ill and has lost their memory, we might say that “the lights are on but there is no one at home,” in other words that the person has left the body? Are we right?”

To this, I argued that the person is determined entirely by the soul, taking a rather traditionalist view, and seeing as the soul can never leave the body, neither can the soul. It is only that when we suffer from dementia, the body is so damaged that it can demonstrate the soul- but this does not mean that the person has left the body, it is just struggling to represent itself. The argument of course developed much more but this was my main point.

It was a great honour to be highly commended and I was overjoyed by the outcome. It will certainly help build my portfolio for future applications and I have developed many more skills, such as research and analysis, from it.