Department of Philosophy
Department of Philosophy

Freedom of Speech Essay Contest 2014

Thu, February 6, 2014
Freedom of Speech Essay Contest 2014
BB&T Chair for the Study of Objectivism


First prize - $1,500
Second prize - $1,000
Third prize - $700



Applicants must be registered as full-time undergraduate students at The University of Texas at Austin for the 2013-2014 academic year.


Applicants must submit an essay that addresses one of the following questions:

Freedom of Speech and Artistic Expression

Should artistic expression receive the same degree of legal protection as other types of speech, such as political, religious, commercial, or educational speech? Should it enjoy less freedom, or more? Fully explain and defend your answer, making use of specific examples.

Freedom of Speech in Relation to Privacy

Consider the wide variety of ways in which people speak about one another (e.g., in the tabloids, on television, on YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook, at the proverbial water cooler). When is others’ speech about a person a violation of his privacy? Is a person entitled to compel others not to speak about him? What kinds of legal restrictions, if any, are justified in order to protect a person’s privacy from others’ expression?


Essays will be evaluated on how well they answer the essay question, clarity of writing, depth of understanding, and originality.

Essays do not need to agree with any particular conclusion; they do need to show a solid understanding of the major principles raised by the topic they address and of the major implications of the position that they take on it.

Winners will be announced in April 2014. (please note that the judges reserve the right to not award any prizes in the unlikely event that they deem no essay warrants an award.)

Essays must be between 1400-2500 words in length.
Essays must be original, unpublished work of one student; only one essay per student may be submitted.
Submissions will be judged anonymously. Identifying information is requested on the accompanying Entry Form, but no identifying references, such as your name or professors’ names, should appear in your essay.

Essays must identity the question that you are answering and be typed in 12-point font in English, double-spaced with 1-inch margins and numbered pages.


Sponsored by the BB&T Chair for the Study of Objectivism and The Department of Philosophy

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