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Cambridge Philosothon

The next Philosothon will be held on Friday 15th March 2024 at the Faculty of Divinity in Cambridge. Please see details below on how to register your school.

What is a Philosothon?

Enter your school into the next Cambridge-based version of a national debating event. A Philosothon aims to promote philosophical enquiry and rigour by bringing students together around stimulus material  which allows the group to move beyond discussion towards critical inquiry.

The model used for the event is a ‘community of inquiry’, where the idea is not to ‘attack’ or ‘defeat’ another person’s position, but to enable the group to move towards awareness of underlying concepts within the stimulus and a critical understanding of different positions and arguments. Students are encouraged to ask questions of others in the group in order to probe deeper and try to understand and clarify both their own viewpoints and arguments and those expressed within the group. 

What is the composition of teams?

Each school’s team is made up of 10 students, ideally with two students from each year group from Years 9 to 13. If your school does not have a Sixth Form and you are interested in participating, please contact us, as we may be able to pair you up with a Sixth Form. Alternatively, you would be welcome to submit a team of 10 students made up from students from Years 9 to 11, on the understanding that your students may play against teams with older students.

What experience of Philosophy do students require? 

No formal philosophical expertise or grounding is expected of students, and groups should be jargon free zones. What the judges will be looking for is students’ ability to move the argument on through genuine awareness of different responses and the reasons behind them, and critical inquiry into the reasons put forward by group participants. 

How does my school enter the Cambridge Philosothon?

If you would like to enter your school, please email us by clicking on the link.

Please be aware that places are limited and we cannot guarantee we will be able to accommodate all teams. Priority will be given to UK state schools or FE Colleges and those from under-represented geographical regions of the UK, as well as schools/teams that meet our widening participation criteria.

Practical matters

  • The event will start at 10.30 and finish at about 3.00
  • Parking for minibuses is available either on site at the Faculty of Divinity (first come, first served) or on the roads around the department