Luke recognised in International Essay Competition

Sixth Form 16-18
Posted on: November 23rd 2018

Luke Eddershaw

Bishop’s Stortford College Sixth Former, Luke Eddershaw, was recently awarded a ‘High Commendation’ in the John Locke 2018 Essay Competition, an international contest held by the John Locke Institute.   The annual competition, judged by professors from Oxford University and Princeton in the US, aims to encourage young people to cultivate the characteristics shown by some of the world’s leading thinkers, both past and present, encouraging students to go beyond the confines of the school curriculum in Philosophy, Politics, Economics, and History.

In his response to the Philosophy and Theology question On 17 December 1903 Orville and Wilbur Wright's plane was airborne for twelve seconds, covering a distance of 36.5 metres. Just seven hundred and eighty-seven months later, Neil Armstrong flew ten million times as far to land on the moon. Yet we continue to argue about what Aristotle said twenty-four centuries ago. What kind of progress is possible in philosophy? Is it worth it?” Luke opened with, “Progress, in any subject, implies some sort of goal or desired end. Hence, any discussion of the kind of progress that is possible in philosophy must be preceded by a discussion of the nature of philosophy itself and its goals. To the layman, philosophy usually appears as some form of enquiry into the nature of existence. However, such a definition is insufficient; physics could be equally characterised as such and it would appear to give a false focus to ontology, thus disregarding other philosophical sub-disciplines such as ethics. Therefore, a more sophisticated definition might posit that philosophy is a kind of ‘fundamental enquiry’, which is to say it comprises of answering and clarifying questions which in themselves must be answered before any further enquiry.”

Patrick Winter, Head of Ethics, Philosophy and Theology at the College commented, “From this introduction I think it is abundantly clear just how impressive it would be to take part in such a competition, something which requires academic curiosity, a remarkable confidence to engage in justified academic reasoning, and a willingness to step outside the comforts of the College curriculum. Even more so as he entered the competition unbeknown to his teachers, thus showing a fantastic sense of academic drive and ambition… Even more so in light of his results.”

The competition awards 3 top prizes in each category, followed by Very High Commendation, High Commendation and Commendation. Luke’s ‘High Commendation’ is exceptionally impressive especially as the winner of this philosophy category went on to win the entire competition.

The College would like to congratulate Luke for this tremendous achievement.

About the John Locke Institute 

John Locke Institute is an independent educational organisation that works to embolden the best and brightest students to become more academically ambitious and more intellectually adventurous. Through our various programmes - residential courses, revision seminars, essay competitions, and special events - we inspire students to aim high and we equip them with the skills they need in order to achieve their goals.

The Institute is named in honour of the eminent seventeenth century Oxford philosopher, John Locke. As influential in the United States as in his native England, John Locke was the grandfather of Classical Liberalism. The very ideal of the Renaissance Man, Locke was a philosopher, political scientist, economist and medical doctor; he was a man of ideas and a man of action. The Institute honours his philosophy of education: a teacher “should remember that his business is not so much to teach all that is knowable, as to raise in [the student] a love and esteem of knowledge; and to put him in the right way of knowing and improving himself”.



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