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What is the Dialexicon Journal?

Results for the 2022 Dialexicon Journal have been announced! Please check the Journal page to find out more informations!

Dialexicon is a journal aimed at fostering philosophical thinking and writing among high school students. Submitted papers undergo a multi-round review process, during which an adjudication panel consisting of philosophy faculty, graduate students, and debate coaches will evaluate papers and determine those worthy of publication.

Students whose papers are published receive:

  • An official publication for university applications and academic resumés
  • A feature on the University of Toronto Philosophy Department's homepage
  • An interview with Dialexicon to discuss their paper and philosophy
  • A $100 check funded by the Ontario Ethics Bowl [only for the winner, NOT all published authors]

Introducing the 2021/22 Dialexicon Journal

Prompt 1: Mandatory Vaccines

The COVID-19 pandemic has raised questions surrounding the obligations and limits of public health regulations. With some regions experiencing a resurgence of cases, there has been an increased push for vaccine mandates. Specifically, some citizens are calling for imposing mandatory vaccines or, at the very least, ‘vaccine passports’ that prevent unvaccinated citizens from entering certain public and private spaces, such as restaurants and theatres. Do you believe mandatory vaccines are ethical? What about vaccine passports? Where do you draw the line, if at all, in terms of vaccine regulations during the COVID-19 pandemic, and why?

Prompt 2: Transgender Athletes

At the Tokyo 2021 Olympic Games, Laurel Hubbard became the first transgender athlete to compete at the Olympics in weightlifting. The move generated controversy, with some arguing that Hubbard gained an unfair advantage by having biologically male traits, such as increased bone and muscle density – traits that are key to success in sports, particularly weightlifting. Others say this is a breakthrough moment to include transgender athletes, contesting the idea that strict biological sex categories exist or, if they exist, whether they play a decisive role in the competition. Since 2015, the rules of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) allow transgender athletes to compete as women if their testosterone levels fall under a threshold. Should transgender athletes be allowed to compete in sporting events of their desired gender? What requirements should be applied, if any? And should a distinction be made between sporting events and other types of competitions – for example, should a transgender actor be placed in their desired gender category at the Oscars?

Prompt 3: Gene Editing

Recent technologies such as CRISPR have enabled scientists to edit the genes of individuals. Current applications generally revolve around addressing medical illnesses and genetic defects, but the future holds many more possibilities. The ability to edit one’s genes could provide a way to change a person’s race, overall appearance, IQ, and genetic composition. Parents, at least those who can afford the technology, could opt to make their kids smarter, stronger, and ‘better’ in various regards. Is gene editing morally justified, or should it be banned or restricted? Where should we draw the line between treating diseases and enhancing humans? Do the benefits justify the possible risks, both in terms of medical risks and social justice issues?

Prompt 4: Truth

With the ascent of populist politicians and Big Tech, the ‘truth’ has been put in question. Facts as basic as whether a celebrity is alive or dead and the safety of a vaccine have been disputed by prominent figures and ordinary citizens alike. The rise of deepfakes and the spread of fake news over social media has only worsened the problem, resulting in rising skepticism of authority figures. In an increasingly divided and misleading social climate, how do we discern the truth, if at all? How do we separate fact from opinion? Is there an objective reality at all?

Prompt 5: Choose your own prompt!

How do I write a strong paper for Dialexicon?

To assist you in writing a strong submission, you may want to consult the following resources:

Dialexicon Rubric
Guide to Writing a Strong Philosophy Essay

How do I submit?

Email your submission to dialexiconjournal@gmail.com with the subject title "Dialexicon Submission". Please attach your essay as a PDF. For the purposes of a blind review process, do not include your personal information in the essay document. Along with your essay, please download our submission form and fill it out electronically using PDF Escape. Alternatively, you can print it out, complete it by hand, and scan the paper. Attach it to your email along with your submission.

Your submission should adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Be between 900 and 1200 words
  • 12 pt Times New Roman font
  • Your essay should have an original title
  • Include in-text citations and reference in any reputable style (i.e. APA, Chicago)
  • Any form of plagiarism or ghostwriting is not tolerated. However, Dialexicon gladly accepts essays that have been submitted for a school assignment or an essay competition.
Note: The deadline for entries into the Spring Volume has passed.