The Philosophy Essay Prize

Each year the Royal Institute holds an essay prize competition. The winner will receive £2,500 and their essay will be published in Philosophy


This year's topic is 'Knowledge, Truth and Power in an Online World'. 'The deadline for submissions has now passed, and we'll announce the winner here soon.  


2020 Topic: Knowledge, Truth and Power in an Online World


Advances in IT have made possible things that seemed pure science-fiction even two decades ago, for instance, real-time audio-visual communication is now accessible to anyone almost anywhere. This has transformed commercial and financial transactions, the dissemination of information and news in all media formats, political and personal relationships – even romance. This development is bound to have a radical impact on how we approach traditional philosophical problems about, for example, knowledge, the justification of belief, political power and influence, or fairness. We welcome submissions on these and related topics, addressing questions such as: Does an online world bring new sources of justification, or new forms of scepticism, or both? Does the internet ‘extend the mind’ and, if so, how? Who controls and regulates what may be communicated, or vouches for its credentials? And who ought to control and regulate them, if anybody? Who owns data? How should the massive profits it generates be distributed or taxed? And how might philosophical reflection on earlier periods of similar rapid change help us understand and respond to the transformations now in progress?


The winner will receive £2,500 and their essay will be published in Philosophy


The submission deadline is 1st October 2020. Entries will be considered by a panel of judges and the winner announced at the beginning of 2021.  The winning entry will be published in the April 2021 issue of Philosophy. Please submit entries by email to with the subject line 'Prize Essay'


In assessing entries priority will be given to originality, clarity of expression, breadth of interest, and potential for advancing discussion. All entries will be deemed to be submissions to Philosophy and more than one may be published. In exceptional circumstances the prize may be awarded jointly, in which case the financial component will be divided, but the hope is to select a single prize-winner.  


Instructions for contributors can be found here. (Please note Prize Essay submissions should be sent to the email address above and not through the ScholarOne system).