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The Indian Philosophy Olympiad (as of 2016 onwards) will be held in three stages. Each stage will comprise of 2-3 tasks and the selected students will be taken to the next stage. The last stage will be an essay writing contest like the actual IPO. These stages will be entirely online and the links to the relevant tutorials and pages will be passed on to those who enrol. As we cannot assume previous knowledge of philosophy each task in the first two stages will be associated with a tutorial. The participant is expected to first go through the tutorial (1-2 hours) and then attempt the tasks. The task sheets will be open for submission for more than 36 hours and as such there is no time limit to submissions. The essay in Stage 3 will however be time-bound. Details of the Stages are given here - Stage 1, Stage 2, Stage 3. (Also, see the schedule for the InPO Stages) The awards and further process for team selection is outlined below.

The process for Stage 1 and Stage 2

After enrolment, participants will get an email with links to the task sheets of the stage. (Stage 1 for all enrolled and Stage 2 for the selected ones) The Google form for the task will be activated at the time given in the schedule. Before or after the span allotted for the task, the form will be closed and will give a message that it is not accepting responses. The participant has to use the same email ID for registration and for performing the task. As long as the form is open in the browser the questions can be answered. The student can submit the form after partially completing the tasks and re-open it if he uses the link given to him for further completion. The form has to be submitted before the deadline, or else the last submission will not be accepted. (The previously submitted work will however be saved) Thus he/she can choose to work at comfortable times. There will be links on the form to the tutorials. All of this can be done from any device connected to the internet but a Chrome browser is preferred. The answers to the tasks and where needed a general feedback will be set to all by email. 

Stage 1: Logic & Language (Tools of philosophy)

 A philosopher must first be good at use of language (in our case English) and the verbal twists and turns it can take as also the use of logic. At high-school level it becomes difficult to grasp rigorous formal logic, however, one needs to train one's mind in systematic and critical thinking. Hence there will be three tasks:

  1. Task 1 will be to do with basic Logic. We will deal with Syllogisms, Deductive logic and some part of the formal language used to express logic. We will test the students capacity to identify the constructs of logic in the examples.

  2. Task 2 will deal with fallacies that occur when we do not critically examine the statements made by us or others. We will introduce some types of fallacies and then test whether the student is able to spot them in the examples.

  3. Task 3 will focus on a slightly vague area, that of intricacies of language. Here we will test whether the student is able to understand the implied meaning of text or poetry and if the the student can take a certain incomplete discussion to its logical conclusions.

The above tasks will be objective although not straightforward. Students will be judged on their average performance. Feedback for the tasks will be given before the next task begins. Top 30 students will be taken to the next level.

Stage 2:  Arguments & Methods of philosophy

Philosophy consists of assembling and dismantling arguments. Doing so requires some training before one can actually handle philosophical quotes such as what comes at Stage 3 or the IPO.  The tasks will be structured as below:

  1. Task 1 will comprise of understanding what makes an argument valid or sound.

  2. Task 2 will take the student further into analyzing the arguments typically made by philosophers, where it becomes necessary to clearly see the premises (assumptions / basis) of the philosophers quote and how it leads to the stated conclusion.

The questions here will have subjective answers although brief in length. These tasks will be open for about 48 hours to allow the student to read and think. Top 15 students will be taken to the next level.

Stage 3: Essay Writing (Philosophizing)

After being able to understand the argument in the quote the final test is to be able to either provide a coherent interpretation of the quote, thereby supporting it or to dismantle the assertion of the philosopher by provide a valid counter argument. There will be no tutorials here, but the student is encouraged to see the links listed below for examples of winning essays at two tournaments - The IPO and the Baltic Sea Philosophical Essay Event. As you will see that the medals are not awarded necessarily to perfect (or fancy) language but to a deep and systematic thought being presented. For a brief guideline on writing essays see here. The length of the essay also does not matter.

The student will get a link to a form where, once he/she submits it with a basic information, the countdown for that particular student begins. The student will immediately get an email with a link to a Google document which contains 3 topics out of which the student should write an essay on one. The essay should be written within the same document. Google documents auto-save the matter every few seconds and the student has to do nothing but close it after completion. The essay should be submitted within 3 hours or the permission to edit the document expires. Top 2 students at this Stage will be invited to join the Indian team to the next International Philosophy Olympiad. (Read more below)

Awards & Further

Since we are non-funded and find it difficult to process sending awards and certificates, we have decided to send a soft copy of certificates to those winning the award, as well as those participating in the InPO. These will be duly signed PDF's which the student may retain as a soft copy for passing on to admission committees later on or print on a paper of choice.

The students will be ranked and the top 5 percentile will get a Gold Medal, while each consecutive 5 percentile will receive Silver and Bronze respectively.

The first two students will be asked to join the team. (please note that since their is no funding, students have to pay for the international travel costs; hence they may decide not to join. This will not affect the result of the competition) If some decline, the next in list will be asked and so on. The selected  team will then proceed for the training phase.

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Updated on: 30-10-2016 20:02 +0530