The Thistle - An E-Newsletter of Scotch College, Perth, Western Australia


Should some scientific research be censored?

Why doesn't Hollywood cast more Asian actors in leading roles?

Is civil disobedience ever morally justified?

These were just some of the central questions students wrestled with as part of the Australasian Philosothon, an annual national philosophy competition that sees the best teams from each state duke it out in the spirit of deep philosophical inquiry. Having won the state Philosothon in 2017, for the third time consecutively, Scotch College were again invited to send a team to compete, this time at St Peter's College, Adelaide in October.

Unlike the debate format most of you will be familiar with, students at this competition engage in what are called 'communities of Inquiry' in which ten students sit in a circle, tackle a question over the course of an hour and take ownership of the conversation as a group. Students are rewarded for offering novel thought experiments, drawing creative analogies, challenging others' assumptions and employing many other techniques in the pursuit of the truth, whatever that may be.

This year, students were judged by an exceptional range of academic experts in various fields of Philosophy from across Australia. In a national competition dominated in recent years by a few exceptional girls schools, the boys placed a formidable third behind 1st place North Sydney Girls School and 2nd place, Seymour Girls College from Adelaide.

Scotch College Australasian team

Andrew Walker (Year 7, James)

Benjamin Waddell (Year 8, Gordon)

Nathanael Kumar (Year 10, Alexander)

Thomas Westcott (Year 10, Shearer)

Lachlan Norcott (Year 11, Anderson)

Sam Wake (Year 11, Brisbane)

Lewis Orr (Year 12, Ferguson)

Benjamin Steinberg (Year 12, Ferguson)

Andrew Walker, Thomas Westcott, Sam Wake and Lewis Orr went on to compete in the state competition. Once again the team were victorious.

Scotch College become the most successful school in the history of the competition, individual honours also went to:

Thomas Westcott - 3rd place in the 14 yrs category

Benjamin Steinberg (Year 12, Ferguson) - 3rd place in the 16 Years+ category.

Lewis Orr - Male Philosopher of the Year.