Victory at the Cambridge Philosothon 2024

The Faculty of Divinity in Cambridge hosted their first national Philosothon competition on 15 March 2024, with teams from schools across the UK taking part.  Our team of 10 students from Years 9–12, performed impressively throughout, and were awarded first place in this year’s competition.

Promoting philosophical enquiry and rigour, the Cambridge Philosothon brings students together around unseen stimulus material (ranging from Jack and the Beanstalk to Sartre’s existentialism) in order to examine key philosophical concepts within. A Philosothon is built on the idea of a ‘community of inquiry’, wherein our aim is not to attack or defeat another person’s position, but to enable the group to notice underlying assumptions and develop our thinking in order to build a critical response to a range of philosophical positions. Students were encouraged to ask questions of each other, probe deeper and try to clarify both their own and others’ viewpoints and arguments. The skills they have been developing in class led to incredibly deep and searching analysis by our team and the judges remarked on how each of our students made important and significant contributions to each discussion. In particular, they credited the older students who used their knowledge and skills to support and encourage their younger peers in a way that led to an open and collaborative atmosphere around the table.

Year 11 student Japji commented,
“I really enjoyed the variation in all the questions and hearing everyone’s different views and perceptions during the discussions. All of the topics were really interesting… I really gained an insight into other people’s views on philosophical matters and it was really interesting learning about how different theories could be applied in every day situations.”

Akash (Yr 11) added,
“I would encourage other students to actively take an interest in PTE as the concepts that are learnt/discussed can be applied to almost everything – even something as simple as Jack and the Beanstalk!”