Organised by Društvo Argument

Topics

Below you can find the main topic for all the activities as well as topics for essay writing competition.

Competition topics & Titles for Essays

Topics for competition / essay writing for IPO are always announced on the moment when students start writing essays. Here you can find all the topics and quotations from previous years.


TOPICS for eIPO 2021 essay writing were as follows:

TOPIC 1
“A concept is a brick. It can be used to build the courthouse of reason. Or it can be thrown
through the window.”
Brian Massumi, Translator’s Foreword: Pleasures of Philosophy.
– In: Gilles Deleuze & Félix Guattari (1987), A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. London: Continuum, p. xii.
*
“Ein Begriff ist ein Ziegelstein. Man kann damit das Gerichtsgebäude der Vernunft bauen.
Oder man kann damit ein Fenster einwerfen.”
*
“Un concepto es un ladrillo. Puede ser usado para edificar el palacio de justicia de la razón. O
bien puede ser lanzado a través de sus ventanas.”

TOPIC 2
“[The World] could not have come into existence of itself, without the help of some Agent to
produce it. And that this Agent needs be such an one as cannot be apprehended by our Senses; for if he should be the Object of Sense, he must be Body, and if Body, then a Part of the
World, and consequently a Created Being; such an one as would have stood in need of some
other Cause to create him; and if that second Creator was Body, he would depend upon a
third, and that third upon a fourth, and so ad infinitum, which is absurd. Therefore the World
stands in need of an incorporeal Creator.”
Abu Bakr Ibn Tufail (c. 1105 – 1185). The History of Hayy Ibn Yaqzan.
Translated from the Arabic by Simon Ockley, 1708.
New York: Frederick A. Stokes Company Publishers, 1929, p. 101-102.
*
“[Die Welt] könnte nicht aus sich heraus entstanden sein, ohne die Hilfe eines Urhebers, um
sie zu schaffen. Und dieser Urheber muss ein solcher sein, der nicht durch unsere Sinne
wahrgenommen werden kann; denn wenn er der Gegenstand unserer Sinne wmü ,äresste er
Körper sein, und wenn Körper, dann ein Teil der Welt und folgerichtig ein erschaffenes Objekt; als ein solches bräuchte er eine andere Ursache seiner Entstehung; und wenn dieser
zweite Schöpfer Körper wäre, würde er von einem dritten abhängig sein, und der dritte von
einem vierten und so weiter bis ins Unendliche, was absurd ist. Deshalb bedarf die Welt eines
unkörperlichen Schöpfers.”
*
“[El Mundo] no podría haber entrado a la existencia por sí mismo, sin la ayuda de algún
Agente que lo produjese. Y la necesidad de este Agente debe ser tal que un uno así en modo
alguno puede ser aprehendido por nuestros Sentidos; pues si acaso fuera Objeto del Sentido,
sería entonces Cuerpo, y si Cuerpo, entonces una Parte del Mundo, y consecuentemente un
Ser Creado; un uno así habría estado bajo la necesidad de alguna otra Causa que lo creara; y
si ese segundo Creador fuera Cuerpo, dependería este entonces de un tercero, y ese tercero de
un cuarto, y de esta manera ad infinitum, lo que es absurdo. Por lo tanto el Mundo permanece
bajo la necesidad de un Creador incorpóreo.”

TOPIC 3
“Given that the soul of a human being is only a thinking substance, how can it affect the bodily spirits, in order to bring about voluntary actions.”
Letter from Princess Elisabeth to Descartes, May 6/16 1643. – In:
The Correspondence between Princess Elisabeth of Bohemia and René Descartes (The Other
Voice in Early Modern Europe), Transl. and ed. by Lisa Shapiro,
Chicago University Press 2007, p. 62.
*
“[…] und daß ich Sie darum bitte, mir mitzuteilen, wie die Seele des Menschen die Geister
des Körpers veranlassen kann, willentliche Handlungen auszuführen (denn sie ist ja nichts als
eine denkende Substanz).”
Brief von Prinzessin Elisabeth an Descartes, 6/16 Mai 1643. – In:
Der Briefwechsel zwischen René Descartes (1596–1650) und Elisabeth von der Pfalz
(1618–1680).
Hamburg, Felix Meiner Verlag 2015. Französisch-Deutsch. Übersetzt von Isabelle Wienand,
Olivier Ribordy und Benno Wirz, unter Mitarbeit von Angela Schiffhauer.
Brief vom 6.5.1643, S. 3.
*
“Dado que el alma de un ser humano es únicamente una sustancia pensante, cómo puede
afectar a los espíritus animales, a fin de producir las acciones voluntarias.”
Carta de la Princesa Elisabeth a Descartes. 6/16 de Mayo de 1643

TOPIC 4
“The ‘technification’ of our being: the fact that to-day it is possible that unknowingly and indirectly, like screws in a machine, we can be used in actions, the effects of which are beyond
the horizon of our eyes and imagination, and of which, could we imagine them, we could not
approve–this fact has changed the very foundations of our moral existence. Thus, we can become ‘guiltlessly guilty’, a condition which had not existed in the technically less advanced
times of our fathers.”
Burning Conscience: The case of the Hiroshima pilot,
Claude Eatherly, told in his letters to Günther Anders.
Letter 1: Günther Anders to Claude Eatherly. June 3rd, 1959. Rowohlt Verlag GmbH, 1961.
*
“Die Technisiertheit des Daseins: die Tatsache, dass wir ahnungslos und indirekt, gewissermaßen als Maschinenschrauben, in Handlungen eingefügt werden können, deren Effekte wir
nicht übersehen und die wir, wenn wir die Effekte übersähen, nicht bejahen könnten – die hat
unser aller sittliche Situation verändert. Die Technik hat es mit sich gebracht, dass wir auf
eine Weise schuldlos schuldig werden können, die es früher, in der technisch noch nicht so
fortgeschrittenen Zeit unserer Väter, noch nicht gegeben hatte.”
Off limits für das Gewissen.
Der Briefwechsel zwischen dem Hiroshima-Piloten Claude Eatherly und Günther Anders.
Reinbek 1961, S. 17.
*
“La ‘tecnificación’ de nuestro ser: el hecho de que a día de hoy es posible que inadvertida e
indirectamente, como tornillos en una máquina, podemos ser empleados en acciones, los
efectos de las cuales se encuentran más allá del horizonte de nuestros ojos e imaginación, y
los cuales, en caso de que los imagináramos, no podríamos aprobar – este hecho ha cambiado
los mismos fundamentos de nuestra existencia moral. Así, podemos convertirnos en ‘culpables sin culpa’, una condición que no había existido en las sociedades técnicamente menos
avanzadas de nuestros padres.”

eSymposium: UTOPIA & UTOPIAN THINKING

Before the publication of More’s De Optimo Reipublicae Statu deque Nova Insula Utopia Libellus Vere Aureus in 1516, the concept of Utopia was represented by the Latin verb ‘Nusquama’, meaning ‘nowhere’. More combined the Greek ou (no), transliterated into the Latin u, with the Greek topos (place), to create Utopia. Thomas More’s Utopia was both an imagined ‘no-place’ and a serious critique of the social evils of sixteenth century England (Bruce, 1999). By the end of the sixteenth century the adjectival form ‘utopian’ had been born1 and by the seventeenth century, ‘Utopia’ had made its way into other European languages (see Bacon, Cervantes and Shakespeare). Utopia was not only a poetic or imaginary place, but had come to denote general programmes and manifestos for ideal societies promoted by the authors directly (Milton, Leibniz) to be realised via political action (Manuel and Manuel, 1979). Following on from the original Utopia of Thomas More in 1516 up to the early twentieth century, a range of literary Utopias and utopian manifestos emerged, some presenting a vision of a new society; others presenting a blueprint for possibilities that could be applied in practice. While the term ‘Utopia’ came to cover a variety of meanings and interpretations that differed in content, form, political alignment and intention, one of the key characteristics of utopian politics lay in the imagining of political systems radically different from existing ones (Goodwin and Taylor, 1982; Jameson, 2005).

Main topics for discussion at eIPO 2021 will therefore be:
1) Realism versus Idealism in political philosophy: throughout the history of political philosophy and politics, there has been continual debate about the roles of idealism versus realism. For contemporary political philosophy, this debate manifests in notions of ideal theory versus nonideal theory. Nonideal thinkers shift their focus from theorizing about full social justice, asking instead which feasible institutional and political changes would make a society more just. Ideal thinkers, on the other hand, question whether full justice is a standard that any society is likely ever to satisfy. And, if social justice is unrealistic, are attempts to understand it without value or importance, and merely utopian?
2) Interpretations of key utopian and anti-utopian texts to demonstrate how they construct, challenge and explore the ideas and forms of social phenomenons in the past and present. earlier utopian writings and the social and political ideals of their own periods
3) Is contemporary culture a prove of utopian eclipse by the dystopian narratives?
4) How to set ambitious goals and practical principles for creating a desirable society?
5) What is the role of utopian thinking in critical thinking?