Philos-Sophia Essay Contest

(Jump to Contest Results)

Dr. Wolfgang Smith, whose work has inspired the creation of the Philos-Sophia Initiative Foundation, explains: “There exists at present a glaring discrepancy between what the discipline known as ‘philosophy’ was in ancient times, and what it has come to be in our day.” Indeed, the word itself is so badly injured that we have taken it upon ourselves to resuscitate it: It is with good reason that we are not the Philosophy  but the Philos-Sophia  Initiative! The need for true philos-sophia — an idiom in ancient Greek meaning love of wisdom — is pronounced in our time, “and has in fact only been exacerbated by the pseudo-philosophical doctrines that have usurped its place.” To counter this trend, the Initiative was founded “to promote the restitution of authentic philosophy.”

Meeting this challenge, of course, requires a practical point of origin. Therefore, as per the directive of Dr. Smith, the first priority of the Foundation shall be “an outreach to the young designed to discover and promote philosophic talent wherever it may be found.” We seek out the gifted young minds of today that they might become the intellectual and academic leaders of tomorrow.

It is with great pleasure, then, that John Trevor Berger (PSIF Director of Philosophical Outreach) announces the inaugural Philos-Sophia Essay Contest.

Application is open to all students high-school age and younger, and the author of the winning essay will be the recipient of a PSIF Fellowship which includes a $5,000 scholarship.

It should be borne in mind that while the criteria for identifying PSIF Fellows are rigorous, the latter will be determined via essay alone. Grade-point averages and scores on standardized tests are not a factor; it is indeed often the case that the most philosophical  minds find themselves ill-suited to the bureaucratized system of the contemporary educational establishment. A winning essay will be one that exhibits either latent or manifest philosophical talent.

Go to Essay Question


  • Applicants may be any age 18 or younger. Application is not open to those who have already graduated high school.
  • Submissions should be written in English.
  • Author’s name, contact information, and essay title at top of first page; the following pages should be numbered with the author’s last name.
  • Length & Parameters: 500–700 words. Typed, 12pt Times New Roman font. Double-spaced with 1” margins. Send in PDF file format; if not sent in PDF, entries will be returned with request to re-submit in the preferred file format.
  • Only one submission per applicant. Application consists of completed essay; there is no separate application form.
  • SUBMISSION DEADLINE is May 31, 2018. Send submissions and all contest-related queries to (for these messages, please include “Essay Contest” in the subject bar).


  • The scholarship will be awarded at the sole discretion of the Philos-Sophia Initiative Foundation (“PSIF”), and will be reserved until a winner is determined.
  • If no winner is determined, PSIF reserves the right at its sole discretion to award Honorable Mentions, with possible prizes in amounts to be determined by PSIF.
  • All winning entries shall be published on the PSIF webpage and in other PSIF-sponsored formats, and all entrants hereby acknowledge the assignment of such rights to PSIF as will facilitate the publication of all entries, at PSIF’s sole discretion.