Distinction for Millie at John Locke Institute Essay Competition

Distinction for Millie at John Locke Institute Essay Competition

The John Locke Global essay competition invites pupils from around the world to compete in various categories. Normally, only Sixth Form pupils submit an entry, but this year Millie (Fifth Year) entered the Philosophy section and not only was shortlisted and invited to the awards ceremony in Oxford, but received a distinction, a truly outstanding academic achievement. Millie wrote about her experience:

For the John Locke Institute Essay Competition, I answered the Philosophy category’s second question: ‘In what sense are you the same person today that you were when you were ten?’ Philosophy has three, main, defined problems concerning persons, according to the Stanford Encyclopaedia: that of personal identity in the sense of characterisation (‘Who am I?’), that of personhood (‘What is it to be a person, as opposed to a nonperson’– a question probably most pertinent to animal ethics), and that of persistence, or personal identity over time. I interpreted the essay prompt as an enquiry into the third problem, of which the philosophical discourse was vivified by John Locke himself. It, in essence, asks: what are the necessary and sufficient conditions for Person A at t1 to be the same person as Person B at t2? However, this can be more confusingly represented, such as in the problem of Theseus’ Ship, Shoemaker’s Brown-Brownson case and his brain fission question. My answer to the question was proportionately complex: I argued against arguments for a constant ‘self’ that holds our identity, and also against those which suggested that our identity persists in continuities such as memory, psychological or bodily continuity, but proposed that the only ‘evidence’ we have for our identity’s persistence over time is our own experience (of ourselves). I am overjoyed that the work I put into it has resulted in a brilliant weekend spent in Oxford, shared with the other Caterham entrants who were shortlisted and also able to come to the Awards Ceremony– exploring the Ashmolean Museum after-hours together at the Gala Reception was so fun, and certainly a once-in-a-lifetime event.

Millie (Fifth Year)

Shortlisted pupils included:

Cici (Upper Sixth)

Amali (Upper Sixth)

Millie (Upper Sixth

Annie (Fifth Year)

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