Lloyd Davies Philosophy Prize

Established in 2006, the Lloyd Davies Philosophy Prize is an essay competition open to students in Year 12 or the Lower 6th. The first prize is £250, and there may also be a second prize of £150.

The purpose of the Prize is:

  • To give students in Year 12 or the Lower 6th who are considering applying to a University an opportunity to write about a subject they are interested in. This should enable them to develop their abilities for independent research and thought in Philosophy.
  • To support teachers of able pupils by providing interesting and challenging further work in Philosophy and by bringing such students into contact with Higher Education.
  • To encourage able students to consider applying to study Philosophy, either at Oxford or at another university, by giving them some experience of the type of work involved.
  • To recognise the achievement and effort of the best of those who apply through prizes and commendations. Note: the judges are not able to provide feedback on any essays.

Assessment Criteria

Entrants should be in Year 12 (or equivalent) at their school or college. The judges will look for originality of thought, a clear grasp of the issues, clarity in presentation and a critical approach to what has been read. They will also look for a clear structure to the essay.

How to Apply

Essays should be no more than 2500 words in length and should be on one of the topics listed below. Essays should be word processed and submitted by email in Word to admissions@oriel.ox.ac.uk. A font size of 12pt or greater should be used, and the page margins should be set to no less than 1 inch. Entries must be sent with a completed entry form, which is available to download here. Please include a bibliography (note: this does not count towards the word limit).

The deadline for entries is 12 noon on Thursday 15th June and we will announce the winner(s) here by Friday 23rd June.

Titles for 2017 Entries

  1. How can you know that you really exist?
  2. How important are our memories for our identity?
  3. 'Logic clearly dictates that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few … or the one” (Spock and Captain Kirk). Discuss.
  4. ‘Since philosophers cannot seem to agree on anything, philosophy is a sham.’ Discuss.

2016 Competition Result

The joint winners of the 2016 essay competition were Brendan McGrath and Amedeo Robiolio, who both chose to answer: ‘Is a statue the very same object as the statue-shaped hunk of stone located in the same place?’. Our winners each received prizes of £200 and you can click through to their winning essays below:

Brendan McGrath

Amedeo Robiolio

Our tutors also highly commended the essays of three entrants:

Georgia Marlborough, Szymon Motyka and Chung Yi See.