Submit to Dialexicon

What is the Dialexicon journal?

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 international debate coaches will evaluate papers and determine the select few 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 expand on their paper and discuss current affairs 

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.

The submissions deadline for the 2021-22 journal is January 1, 2022

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.

Frequently asked questions

Who can submit to Dialexicon?

High school students from around the world are eligible to submit to Dialexicon for an opportunity to have their philosophical essay published in a professionally adjudicated journal.

Who will be adjudicating my paper?

A panel of university philosophy faculty, graduate students, and international debate coaches will be adjudicating your submission to determine if it fulfills the criteria for acceptance into the journal. For the criteria, refer to the rubric.

How does the submission process work?

We use a blind review process, meaning we do not consider personal information such as your name, school, or age when reviewing your submission. Your essay will undergo multiple rounds of review, and be evaluated by at least 4 different adjudicators. The top 10 submissions will be evaluated by 3 esteemed university faculty to select those accepted for publication and the overall winner, and feedback will be provided to each author.

Do I have to answer all of the questions in each prompt?

No. The questions serve as pointers to help you consider the philosophical implications of each topic, but you do not need to answer all of them. Feel free to create your own question so long as it is relevant to the prompt.

Can I use the first person?

Of course. Philosophers often use the first person when mapping out their argument.

Can I use contractions?

We prefer that you do not use contractions. The essay should be formal. If you are using contractions to cut down on word count, try to make your essay more concise elsewhere.

When will I be notified about the results?

We will notify those whose papers are selected for publication in the journal by March.