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Pennsylvania high school student Yuyan Pu is crowned “The Most Philosophical Student in America” and winner of the 2014 National Kids Philosophy Slam. Ingrid Mundt of Minnesota named “Most Philosophical 5th Grader in America.


Fri, Jun 6th, 2014
Posted in Lanesboro Arts & Culture

LANESBORO, Minn. – Truth or Beauty: which has a greater impact on society? Yuyan Pu, a junior from Conestoga High School in Berwyn, Pennsylvania, won the 14th annual National Kids Philosophy Slam by successfully arguing that beauty has more of an impact on our society and earned the title of “The Most Philosophical Student in America.”

The 2014 National Kids Philosophy Slam challenged students from around the country to answer the question: “Truth or Beauty: which has a greater impact on society?” The response was tremendous, with over 4,000 entries submitted from students across the nation. A panel of philosophy judges selected Yuyan Pu as the winner of the 14th annual National Kids Philosophy Slam. For her philosophical efforts, Yuyan Pu received a gold medal, $250, and the title of “The Most Philosophical Student in America.”

Pu writes in her winning essay, “[Beauty is] the magnetic pull on the heartstrings that enchants the soul and powers the body. It shapes the passions that drive man to create and destroy and man’s fascination with beauty and love has been written in tomes.” She then builds her argument for beauty’s power as she draws upon such influences as Homer’s tale of Helen of Troy and quotes Descartes and Plato. She concludes with the powerful statement, “The truth is, beauty has the greater impact on society because man is ever in the pursuit of making the world more beautiful. While the truth tells the impossibility of touching the peaks of the infinite sky, the beauty of the heavenly bodies still keeps man reaching for the stars.”

Yuyan Pu is a junior at Conestoga High School where she actively participates in numerous extracurricular activities like Junior State of America, Investment Club, Future Business Leaders of America, Speech and Debate, and Model UN. Once only passionate about politics, Yuyan recently developed a strong interest in philosophy thanks to her teacher John Koenig. Because of his philosophy class and club, Yuyan was able to help her Ethics Bowl team reach the semi-finals in the regional competition, just two places away from competing in the National High School Ethics Bowl. Besides philosophy and politics, she also enjoys reading about other social sciences like economics and psychology, especially the controversial theories that exist in each.

Minnesota had several winners in the 2014 Kids Philosophy Slam, including ”The Most Philosophical 5th Grader in America”, Ingrid Mundt of Capitol Hill Magnet School in St. Paul, Minn. In her winning essay she writes, “One reason I think beauty is more powerful than truth is because of commercials. Commercials often times have a heavy impact on what we buy, and what’s in almost all of them? Beautiful models. We probably wouldn’t be nearly as compelled to buy the products their advertising without the lovely ladies and handsome men. We don’t spend the time to look at how effective these products actually are, or what’s really in them if we see models displaying them in a compelling way. “

The Mission of the National Kids Philosophy Slam is to give kids a voice and to inspire kids to think by unlocking their intellectual and creative potential through a unique and powerful philosophical forum. This unique program allows kids to grapple with life’s big issues in an accessible format, as younger students answer philosophical questions through artwork, poetry and music. The Kids Philosophy Slam Program creator, John P. Davis, also created Nationally recognized Great American Think-Off, which was designed to make philosophy accessible to the everyday person in a fun sports-type format. The Kids Philosophy Slam is sponsored in part by the Lanesboro Arts Center in Lanesboro, Minn.

The Kids Philosophy Slam has attracted nationwide media coverage, including the NBC Today Show, National Public Radio, The New York Times, TIME Magazine for Kids, The National Education Association and the Christian Science Monitor. The 2014 National Kids Philosophy Slam also selected national philosophy winners in Kindergarten through the 8th grade.

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12:16:52, Jun 6th 2014

ThePlatonist says:
I like it, although we arn't given a definition of truth. If truth is not justic, but rather simply some kind of being in opposition to relativism, then couldn't we argue that beauty couldn't be without truth, because with some truth behind beauty it could not have some power over man. To the extent the truth of beauty is uncertain, the power of beauty is uncertain, and without any truth beauty wouldn't be at all. So I disagree, but I like the tone and approve of the competition, which draws us to truth and empowers our beauty.