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First and third places earned in philosophy essay competition

Jasmine Ye and Isabella Yaw

Meriden girls have been awarded first and third place in the 2022 Philosophy in Schools Essay Competition. Jasmine Ye topped the competition, while Isabella Yaw was awarded third place for their thought-provoking essays that explored the question, “How can we know so little, given we have so much evidence?”

The Year 11 students’ success marks the fourth consecutive year a Meriden girl has earned a top-three placing in the competition. Hosted by the Philosophy in Schools Association of New South Wales, the competition aims to promote a culture of philosophical enquiry in schools and develop students’ critical thinking skills.

Jasmine and Isabella’s essays thoroughly impressed the competition’s judge, Associate Professor Michaelis Michael from UNSW Sydney, who congratulated the girls and commented that the quality of their work was of the standard of students completing their first year of a philosophy degree at university.

Jasmine said her interest in political philosophy and technological advancement shaped the way she approached her essay.

“I found myself reading several of George Orwell’s essays, including Politics and the English Language and Notes on Nationalism, which deepened my understanding of political rhetoric and propaganda. I then explored Ancient Chinese philosophy and found that Confucius’ insistence of truth and clarity in communication was consistent with the information I was finding in western philosophy,” she said.

Jasmine also drew on modern literature, such as author Eli Pariser’s, The Filter Bubble, to incorporate the impact of technology and social media on the spread of misinformation in society into her essay.

“I like how abstract yet practical philosophy can be. For me, it is very interesting to discuss different theories and concepts and see how they are reflected in the world around us. As a member of Meriden’s Philosophy Club, I meet like-minded peers who are equally as passionate as I am about philosophy. It is an incredible opportunity to share ideas about matters that I am interested in,” said Jasmine.

Isabella, who is also a member of Meriden’s Philosophy Club, said she jumped at the opportunity to enter the competition as it allowed her to combine her passions for classical literature and philosophy.

“Philosophy allows me to think about things that would not usually occur to me. It gives me a space to discuss hypotheticals that may seem absurd to outsiders. It is really fun to allow yourself to think out of the box for a while,” said Isabella.

Congratulations, Jasmine and Isabella on your achievements. We are proud to see Meriden girls continuing to perform so well in this intellectually challenging competition.

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