Great American Think-Off seeks participants
NEW YORK MILLS--America's everyday philosophers have a new incentive to share their thoughts with the nation this year. The Great American Think-Off, a philosophy contest hosted annually in New York Mills, is now offering a category of honorable ...
NEW YORK MILLS-America's everyday philosophers have a new incentive to share their thoughts with the nation this year.
The Great American Think-Off, a philosophy contest hosted annually in New York Mills, is now offering a category of honorable mentions along with the traditional final four winners. Five additional top essayists from each side will receive a "Great American Thinker" certificate, their choice of Think-Off memorabilia, recognition in the Think-Off program, and will have their essays published after the final debate.
"The judging committee often reads essays that raise excellent points even if the entrants don't quite make the cut to the final four," stated Executive Director Betsy Roder, in a news release. "This is a way the Think-Off can showcase the wide variety of responses we get in addition to the top selections. We also hope it encourages more armchair philosophers to participate, knowing that even if they aren't selected as one of the top four, their opinions might still be honored and they may still be able to win a prize and be published."
With a national election right around the corner, this year the Great American Think-Off wants to know if people agree or disagree with this statement, "Income inequality threatens democracy." Although the question format is slightly different from years past, entrants should still take a strong stand agreeing or disagreeing and are encouraged to base their arguments on personal experience and observations rather than philosophical abstraction.
There is no fee to enter the contest. Entrants should submit an essay explaining their position in 750 words or less by April 1. Essays can be submitted online at www.think-off.org , by email to firstname.lastname@example.org , or by mail to Think-Off, c/o Cultural Center, P.O. Box 246, New York Mills, MN 56567.
In addition to the 10 honorable mentions, the two top entries from each side will be selected by May 1 and the writers invited to debate the topic live on June 11 in New York Mills. Each of the four top finalists receives $500 and a chance to win the bronze, silver, or gold medals by participating. The event's host, the New York Mills Cultural Center, also covers costs for travel, food and lodging for the four finalists.
Many past finalists have enjoyed the Think-Off so much that they enter year after year, prompting the committee to create a new policy this year, the news release stated. While former winners are still encouraged to enter and can receive honorable mentions, they cannot be in the final four again until two years after a debate appearance.
"Last year's 'Battle of the Titans' between four former winners was a historic and lively debate, but the committee wants to hear what more Americans are thinking," explained Alice Martin, committee chair, in the release. "We encourage anyone with an opinion on the topic to share their thoughts and use this opportunity to hone and refine their philosophies."
Now in its 24th year, The Great American Think-Off is an exhibition of civil disagreement between powerful ideas being explored by everyday people. Designed to bring philosophy down from the ivory towers of academia and make it accessible for all, the contest has received national acclaim including coverage by C-SPAN, the New York Times and "The Today Show."
Visit www.think-off.org for more information on the contest.