Reed’s wins the Erasmus Essay Competition Posted - 24/01/2020


Each year, the best and brightest philosophical minds from a range of independent schools enter the Erasmus Essay Prize. After voraciously reading a bibliography over the summer, Lower Sixth candidates then sit a three-hour examination in September of the Upper Sixth. The best of these essays are submitted to a guest academic. This year’s guest was Christopher Hamilton of King’s College London, and his theme: Authenticity. Academics in the past have included: Stephen Law, Julian Baginni, Jonathan Glover and Peter Millican.

We visited City of London Boys School for the prize-giving and lunch where Upper Sixth Formers, Chloe Rowland and Ella Cooper, came away champions, in First and Third places respectively, earning sums of £500 and £200 to put towards further study.

Chloe was praised for her writing’s dialectical depth and the complexity of the self under the notion of authenticity. She wrote fluidly about the self throughout literature and the way in which this philosophical theme permeates through to her love of the English language. Ella was praised for tackling the notion of free will versus determinism in her essay, presenting the argument that we can never truly be authentic in a world where our very actions are determined, alluding to nudge theory and human psychology throughout.

Ed Swift, Head of Philosophy & Religion

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