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).

Titles for 2018 Entries

  1. 'The belief in the existence of an omniscient, omnipotent and benevolent God is inconsistent with the existence of human suffering.' Discuss.
  2. 'The limits of my language mean the limits of my world' (Ludwig Wittgenstein). Discuss.
  3. Can we really know what other people think and feel?
  4. Is beauty in the eye of the beholder?

Essays should be submitted by noon on the 15th June 2018 (submission details on application form).

2017 Competition Result

The joint winners of the 2017 competition were: Oliver Schönle & Jamie Slagel. Oliver and Jamie each received prizes of £200 and you can read their winning essays below:

We would like to thank everyone who took part and we wish you all every success in your future studies.