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Irish Young Philosopher Awards

Covid-19 Ethics Prize 2020

Thinking ethically in the context of Covid-19

What are the most important ethical issues of our current time?

We would love to hear your thoughts!

Create a short project on any ethical question that you think is most important in the context of Covid-19. See below under ‘How do I Participate?’ for information about the sort of written and visual projects that may be submitted.

 Prizes will be awarded for the best entries. The best entries will also be published on the UCD Centre for Ethics in Public Life website and the IYPA website.

 All entries should be submitted by Monday the 18th of May 2020. Entries should be emailed to the IYPA email address: youngphilosopherawards@ucd.ie

All second level students and 5th and 6th class primary level students on the island of Ireland are eligible to apply. Individuals, groups and classes can submit an entry. Please make sure you include the names of all participants or your class name and contact details at the top of your work. See instructions below.

How do I Participate? 

  • Decide whether you want to work as an individual or a group (this may be a class).
  • Think about any ethical issue that you consider important in the context of Covid-19.
  • Create an ethical question from your thoughts.
  • Discuss your question with your family, friends, and teachers, without forgetting about social distancing!
  • Look at books, on-line articles, and magazines.
  • Examine the different views on the question that you have raised and keep notes.
  • Create a project in response to the question or issue you think is most important. Your project can be in the format of a blog post, essay, letter, short story, dialogue, comic, podcast, or film.
  • If writing a blog or a written project you may include images to accompany your work. The length of written projects should be a maximum 800 words.

What is an Ethical Question?

Ethical questions are important not only in our everyday interactions with others, but in the use of technology, how we conduct ourselves at school and at work, how governments and institutions undertake their duty and conduct their practices, and how we plan for the future as well as reflect upon the past actions. In times of an important public health emergency such as Covid-19, many moral and ethical issues are raised.   

Ethical questions are ones that:

  • Consider what actions are right or good.
  • Focus on our responsibility toward others (e.g., human beings, animals, and the environment).
  • Relate to what we believe is right and wrong.
  • Have more than one answer.
  • Prompt us to reflect on different and conflicting answers or views.

When you are facing a question of right or wrong that does not have an easy answer, and needs further reflection, then you are dealing with an ethical question. Here are some examples of ethical issues and questions relating to Covid-19:

  • Is it our duty to help others?
  • Can we live without each other?
  • Does the Covid-19 crisis affect everyone in the same way?
  • Is my happiness more important than others?
  • How does Covid-19 affect the way we interact with people?
  • Are there any good changes that might arise from this experience?
  • Should we limit our freedom to help others?
  • Does Covid-19 make us think about friends and family differently?
  • What ethical issues arise with an increased reliance on technology during Covid-19?
  • What is more important - health or wealth?
  • Are we dependent on others for our happiness and well-being?
  • What does it mean to be a hero?
  • Is the replacement of the classroom by the internet ethical?
  • Is Covid-19 a chance for us to reflect on the environmental crisis?
  • Does living in isolation from others raise particular issues?
  • Does Covid-19 make us think about the value of humanity differently?

These are only examples of ethical questions and we encourage you to come up with your own questions when you undertake your project.

How do I Submit?

All entries should be submitted by Monday the 18th of May 2020.

Entries should be emailed to the IYPA email address: youngphilosopherawards@ucd.ie

When you submit your entry, you must include the following information on your work or typed in the email you send:

  • Name (or the names of all members of your group or your class name)
  • School
  • Year Level
  • Email Contact
  • Teacher or Parent Name and Contact Details

For more information on the Irish Young Philosopher Awards visit our website at https://youngphilosopherawards.ucd.ie/

For all queries contact IYPA at: youngphilosopherawards@ucd.ie