International Philosophy Olympiad




































2009 (Finland)

I. "If, then, there is some end of the things we do, which we desire for its own sake (everything else being desired for the sake of this), and if we do not choose everything for the sake of something else (for at that rate the process would go on to infinity, so that our desire would be empty and vain), clearly this must be the good and the chief good." (Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics)

II. In accordance with reason there is only one way that states in relation with one another can leave the lawless condition, which involves nothing but war; it is that, like individual human beings, they give up their savage (lawless) freedom, accommodate themselves to public coercive laws, and so form an (always growing) state of nations (civitas gentium) that would finaly encompass all the nations of the earth. (Immanuel Kant, Toward Perpetual Peace)

III. Must a work of art be beautiful in order to be a work of art, or many a work of art be ugly as well? If the later is possible, why should we take interest in it?

IV. It is not just the existence of God, but rather the very coherence of the idea of God, that is problematic.


2007 (Turkey)

It follows, plainly, from the explanation given above, of the foundation of state, the ultimate aim of government is not to rule, or restrain, by fear, nor to exact obedience, but contrariwise, to free every man from fear, that he may live in all possible security; in other words, the strengthen his natural right to exist and work, without injury to himself and others.
Spinoza, Theological-Political Treatise, chapter XX

There are two things, that fill the mind with ever new and increasing admiration and awe... – the starry sky above me and the moral law within me.
Immanuel Kant, Critique of Practical Reason, Conclusion

Topic 3.
Space is not in the subject , nor is the world in space.
Martin Heidegger, Being and Time

Topic 4.
And for this reason justice is regarded as the highest of all virtues,… and as the proverb has it, “In justice every virtue is summed up.” It is complete virtue and excellence in the fullest sense, because it is the practise of complete virtue. It is complete because he who possesses it can make use of his virtue not only by himself but also in his relations with his fellow men.
Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics


2006 (Italy)

For a large classes of cases - though not for all - in which we employ the word "meaning" it can be defined thus: the meaning of a word is its use in the language.
(Ludwig Wittgenstein)

To know a thing we must love it, and to love a thing we must know it.
(Kitaro Nishida)


2005 (Poland)

If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope l should have the guts to betray my country.

Today, the truth is dispersed across many universes of discourse which can no longer be arranged in a hierarchy. However, in each of these discourses, we search tenaciously for insights that can convince all."

Jürgen Habermas) 

Hedonism, pessimism, utilitarism, eudemonism - all these systems that measure the value of things taking into account the pleasure or pain that go along with them, that is to say, according to any non-core condition or facts, arę seen as if they do not go in depth and being naive. Any man with his constructive faculty in place and a conscience of an artist, can only regard this with irony and pity from a distance." (
Friedrich Nietzsche)

Language is a labyrinth of paths. You approach from one side and know your way about; you approach the same place from another side and no longer know your way about'."
Ludwig Wittgenstein) 


2004 (South Korea)

The decisive argument which is employed by common sense against freedom consists in reminding us of our impotence. Far from being able to modify our situation at our whim, we seem to be unable to change ourselves. I am not "free" either to escape the lot of my class, of my nation, of my family, or even to build up my own power or my fortune or to conquer my most insignificant appetites or habits. (

Jean-Paul Sartre, Being and Nothingness)

The will to truth requires critique - let us define our task in this way - the value of truth must for once, by way of experiment, be called into question ...

(Friedrich Nietzsche: On the Genealogy of Morals, 3-24)

In fact, history does not belong to us, but we belong to history.
(Hans-Georg Gadamer: Truth and Method, 1989)

Does science need philosophy?


2003 (Argentina)

The laws of conscience, which we pretend to be derived from nature, proceed from custom. (
Michel de Montaigne, Essais, 1595, chapitreXXII)

The maxims of the philosophers on the conditions under which public peace is possible shall be consulted by states which are armed for war.
(I. Kant, Perpetual Peace)

The existence of this inclination to aggression, which we can detect in our selves and justly assume to be present in others, is the factor which disturbs our relations with our neighbour and which forces civilisation into such a high expenditure of energy. In consequence of this primary mutual hostility of human beings, civilised society is perpetually threatened with disintegration.
(Freud, Civilisation and its Discontents)


2002 (Japan)

So you would have us qualify our former notion of the just man by an addition. We then said it was just to do good to a friend and evil to an enemy, but now we are to add that it is just to benefit the friend if he is good and harm the enemy if he is bad?

(Plato, Republic)

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
(George Santayana 1863-1952, The Life of Reason, ch.12)

But to be able to say that a point is black or white, I must first know under what conditions a point is called white or black; in order to be able to say: "p" is true (or false), I must have determined under what conditions I call "p" true, and thereby determine the sense of the proposition.
(L. Wittgenstein, Tractatus Logico Philosphicus)

It is another paradox, but God as the true absolute must be Satan too. Only then can God be said to be truly omniscient and omnipotent. [¡¦] The absolute God must include absolute negation within himself, and must be the God who descends into ultimate evil.
(Nishida Kitaro,1870-1945, Last Writing - Nothingness and the Religious Worldview)


2001 (USA)

The laws of conscience, which we pretend to be derived from nature, proceed from custom [¡¦]. (

Michel de Montaigne: Essais. 1595, chapter XXII)

If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them.
(K.R.Popper: The Open Society and its Enemies. Vol.I. Routledge, London 1945, p. 265)

I just had to consult myself about what I want to do, everything I feel to be good is good, everything I feel to be bad is bad¡¦

Hereby it is manifest, that during the time men live without a common power to keep them all in awe, they are in that condition, which is called war; and such a war as is of every man, against every man.
(Hobbes, Leviathan, Ch. XIII)

2000 (Germany)

Time is not something which exists of itself [...]. Time is, therefore, a purely subjective condition of (human) intuition [...] and in itself, apart from the subject, it is nothing.

(Immanuel Kant, Kritik der reinen Vernunft, B 49 A33 / B 51 A35)

The passing from the state of nature to civil society produces a remarkable change in man; it puts justice as a rule of conduct in the place of instinct, and gives his actions the moral quality they previously lacked. (Jean-Jacques Rousseau: The Social Contract)

A process which led from the amoeba to man appeared to the philosophers to be obviously a progress - though whether the amoeba would agree with this opinion is not known.
(Bertrand Russell)
All men naturally desire knowledge.
(Aristotle, The Metaphysics, Book I. 980a)


1999 (Hungary)

It is impossible to conceive anything at all in the world, or even out of it, which can be taken as good without qualification, except a good will.

(Immanuel Kant)

Desire is the essence of the human being.
(Benedictus Spinoza)

What we call 'laws' are hypotheses or conjectures which always form a part of some larger system of theories and which, therefore, can never be tested in isolation.
(Karl R. Popper)

Is knowledge power?


1998 (Romania)

Tatsachlich haben wir zwei Arten von Moral nebeneinander: eine, die wir predigen, aber nicht praktizieren, und eine andere, die wir praktizieren, aber selten predigen.

(B. Russell)

Wir sehen die Welt so, wie wir sie sehen wollen.

Der Mensch wird durch die anderen geschaffen.

Ubrigens ist mir alles verhaert, was mich bloss belehrt, ohne meine Tatigkeit zu vermehren oder unmittelbar zu beleben.

1997 (Poland)

Is philosophy a science?

Der Kunstler laernt uns durch sein Auge in die Welt blicken.


Justice without force is powerless, force without justice is tyrannical. (Pascal)

The idea that one should seek the truth for its own sake doesn't make sense to us pragmatists. We cannot regard the truth as the aim of an investigation. The aim of an investigation is rather to come to an agreement between people about what to do and about the intended ends as well as the means, which we can realize these ends with. [...] All the descriptions we can give of things are descriptions which conform with our ends. [...] All we have to know is whether there are competing descriptions which are more useful to our purposes.
(Richard Rorty: Relativism: To discover and to invent. In: Information Philosophie 1/1997, p. 14-16)


1996 (Turkey)

Nothing is true, everything is permitted...

The evil in the world originates always from ignorance, and good will may cause as much damage as malice, if it is not enlightened.

The limits of your language are the limits of your world.

So act that you treat humanity in your person, as well as in the person of every other human being, also as a goal, never as a means.


1995 (Bulgaria)

Everyone is someone else and no one is himself.

(M. Heidegger)

Actually it is impossible for us to consider ourselves non-existent.
(M. Unamuno)

Should we start from the premise that one is totally forbidden to do injustice, or should we consider that under some circumstances that is permitted?

To be a philosopher means to travel all the time; questions in philosophy are more essential than answers.
(K. Jaspers)


1994 (Bulgaria)

Der Mensch ist fur den Menschen ein "Gott".


Wo ist die Zeit geblieben? Bin ich nicht in einen tiefen Brunnen gefallen? Die Welt schlaft.

Wenn Beine und Arme einen eigenen Willen hatten, waren sie nicht (in der Lage der) Glieder geblieben. (Pascal)


1993 (Bulgaria)

Home is far more a state of mind than landscape.

(G. Bachelard)

Children are antiquities.
(G. Bachelard)

Everything we see could be otherwise.

Without "now" there wouldn't be time and without time there wouldn't be "now".