Australasian Association of Philosophy Philosothon 

28 - 29 September 2021

What is philosophy good for and living a philosophical life.

Professor Deb Brown in conversation with Rob Wilson as part of the 2021 AAP Philosothon.


15 schools from across Australia, in junior and senior divisions, participated in two days of enthusiastic discussions about big ideas in four Community of Inquiry topics: Can we know really different other minds?; “Is “cultural appropriation” a term that helps in efforts to respect peoples and cultures?”; “Do parents have an obligation to create the best child they can?”; and, “Is knowing yourself the first step to knowing anything at all?”. In addition, a series of philosophical talks were held: A Conversation with Professor Deborah Brown (UQ) and Professor Rob Wilson (UWA) on: What is philosophy good for and other questions about living a philosophical life; Professor Peter Godfrey Smith (USyd) on COVID19 & Lockdowns and Dr Luke Zaphir (UQ) on How to Make Good Arguments.

‘Philosophical inquiry led by the next generation of Australian thinkers plays an important role in the shape that our society will take. There are not just urgent social issues – climate change, human displacement, economic development and equality – but the full range of topics that philosophers have thought about that are fair game here. Philosothons provide a glimpse of the real quality of philosophical thinking that has been developing in our schools, and we are grateful to have the opportunity to see and listen to you as you put philosophy to work at this year's AAP Philosothon. - Rob Wilson

   2021 Results   

Years 7/8

1st Lauren Shinfield - North Sydney Girls High School (NSW)

2nd Alison Francis - St Peters Girls (SA)

3rd Oliver Surling - Scotch College (WA)

Year 9

1st Rebecca Stephen - North Sydney Girls High School (NSW)

2nd Bronte Parkin - St Andrew's Cathedral School (NSW)

3rd Alvie Iley - St Peters Girls (SA)

Year 10

1st Ann Chalakkal - Loreto College Ballarat (VIC)

2nd Ned O'Keefe - St Andrew's Cathedral School (NSW)

3rd Angus Mott-Howell - Yeronga State High School (QLD)

Years 11/12

1st Holly Wallman-Craddock - St Peters Girls (SA)

2nd Ella Uhlmann - North Sydney Girls High School (NSW)

3rd Chloe Johnston - Loreto College Ballarat (VIC)

Overall school

1st North Sydney Girls High School (NSW)

2nd St Andrew's Cathedral School  (NSW)

3rd St Peters Girls  (SA)

AAP Most Promising Philosophers

Rebecca Stephen (Year 9) North Sydney

Kavinraj Punitha Kaanthan (Year 11) Willetton Senior High School.

The Philosothon is overseen by the AAP Philosophy in Community Committee

Prof. Rob Wilson (UWA and convenor); Assoc Prof. Markos Valaris (UNSW); Dr Matthew Hammerton (SMU); Kara Vaughan (UQ); Prof. Deb Brown (UQ);

Dr Vanessa Schouten (Massey); and, Dr Nicolas Bullot (CDU). Key organisers: Dr Kaz Bland (manager of the Philosothon) and Montgomery Campbell.

Thanks to the Students, Teachers, Facilitators and Judges who participated and gave their time and expertise over the two days. 

Key dates

'School Information Sheets' submitted by 31 August 2021.

Complete all tabs and include the age, email address and question for each student.

More information:

What's a Philosothon?

A Philosothon is an event that encourages school students to investigate ethical and philosophical questions in the context of ‘communities of inquiry’. Participating in the event helps students to develop higher order thinking and communication skills through a series of discussions with students from other schools. These discussions are facilitated by philosophy teachers and adjudicated by a panel of educators. While there is an element of competition in a Philosothon, it aims to promote a sense of community by developing a shared understanding in a spirit of cooperation. It also develops skills in inquiry-based learning, ethical reasoning, higher-order reflective thinking and a search for meaning through dialogue about open questions and contestable concepts.

Students from throughout Australasia have a unique opportunity to engage with other students interested in philosophical inquiry. Eight students from each school participate over two days, (two age14, two age15, two age & two open year level students).

Students participate in Community of Inquiries, one student from each school in each group. Eight groups occurred simultaneously. Each group has a facilitator and a judge. Each COI ran for 40 minutes. Invitations to participate in the Australasian Philosothon are sent to the winning schools from each regional Philosothon. 

More about Philosothons and past results on Wikipedia: Philosothon - Wikipedia 

Dr Kaz Bland - Organiser

2020 AAPP Philosothon Website

Australasian Association of Philosophy 

These pages have been developed for students, teachers, judges and facilitators participating in the annual Australasian Association of Philosophy Philosothon.

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