Student Paper Writing

Collection of Past Essays

All of the essays here are by the prize winners of the John Locke Institute essay competition from 2019 and 2020. We wish you a pleasant and enlightening reading.   

Philosophy Essays

Is intuition to philosophy as observation is to science?

Aristotelian virtue ethics achieved something of a resurgence in the twentieth century. Was this progress or retrogression?

Politics Essays

American citizens give away more than $300 billion each year in charitable donations. Only a tiny fraction of this (less than 0.001%) is donated to federal, state, and local governments. Politicians claim that they spend taxpayers' money efficiently, to accomplish the most good with the budgets at their disposal. But if this were true wouldn't governments be able to compete more successfully with private charities? What are the implications of your answer?

Governments do a lot of things, such as collecting taxes and drafting people into the military, that we would object to individuals doing. Can this be justified?

How much should we care about social cohesion?

Economics Essays

What is the socially efficient level of crime?

What are the most important economic effects - good and bad - of forced redistribution? How should this inform government policy?

What does economics tell us about the benefits and costs of immigration? What policy should we adopt?

History Essays

How is the modern world different from previous periods of history and why did it come into existence when and where it did?

Is a strong state a prerequisite or an obstacle to economic growth?

According to Henry Kissinger ‘those ages which in retrospect seem most peaceful were least in search of peace. Those whose quest for it seems unending appear less able to achieve tranquility.” Comment on this claim in light of events since 1945.

Psychology Essays

Isn't all reasoning (outside mathematics and formal logic) motivated reasoning?

According to evolutionary psychology, we are evolved to believe what is useful, whether or not what is useful is always also what is true. How can we resist the tendency to believe what is evolutionarily adaptive at the expense of truth? And would it increase or diminish human flourishing to do so?

What are the most important recently-acquired insights from neuroscience which have yet to be widely applied to education?

Theology Essays

Many people have committed acts, execrated and deplored by others, in obedience to sincerely held beliefs. Can we reasonably ask anyone to do better than simply to obey his own conscience? 

Is Islam a religion of peace?

What kind of God would create trillions of animals and permit a great many of them to die painful deaths? Should we worship such a God?

Law Essays

Does a law that prohibits the selling of sex protect or infringe women's rights? 

Why is racial discrimination illegal on employment websites but not on social websites such as Facebook or Tinder?

Do the underlying principles of common law require that juries be informed about jury nullification?

Should computer generated child pornography be permitted?

Junior Category Essays

Who should own your data? The companies with which you agree to share your data, everybody, just you, or nobody? 

How socialist is Sweden? 

Who was the best leader of all time? 

According to Nobel Laureate, Milton Friedman, 'there is one and only one social responsibility of business...to increase its profits...' Do you agree?

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