Philosophy: the 2011 Edition


For the third consecutive year I am sharing the philosophy essay questions that French students had to discuss today for the baccalauréat so that you can wonder what you would have written on these topics.

Philosophy is a compulsory subject for all French students at the end of the high school years unless they are preparing a vocational degree. The students have four hours and have to write about one question out of a choice of three – two in the form of a question and one text.

Is art a means to reach truth?
Does law define what is fair?
Can liberty be threatened by equality?
Is art less necessary than science?
Can a scientific hypothesis be proved?
Can one be right against facts?
Is man condemned to delude himself?
Does culture adulterate nature?
An excerpt from The Gay Science by Nietszsche
An excerpt from De Beneficiis by Seneca
An excerpt from Pensées by Pascal
An excerpt from a text by Henri Bergson


11 thoughts on “Philosophy: the 2011 Edition

  1. “Can one be right against facts?” I’m not even sure what this one means.
    “Can liberty be threatened by equality?” – certainly. Conservatives in the U.S. discuss this a lot. If Man X makes a million dollars, but man Y and Z are equal, shouldn’t man Y and man Z get some of what Man X makes?

    Look forward to reading other responses.

    • “Can one be right against facts?”
      I suppose that if you take “justice”, both parties are looking at the same facts but have a different opinion and in the end only one will be proved “right”. Does that make sense?

  2. I’m happy I’m not French and never had to take this exam. Philosophy is not one of my strong points. I actually failed and had to retake my one philosophy exam in university. That said, I am looking forward to seeing what other people respond.

  3. Pingback: Weekly Review with Hollyhocks | Ilana-Davita

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