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2013 Think-Off question revealed

The 21st annual Great American Think-Off announces its question for 2013: "Which is more ethical: Sticking to your principles or being willing to compromise?"

The Think-Off is a philosophy contest that annually awards cash prizes to four finalists whose essays are selected from writings submitted from anywhere in North America.

Last year's contest featured essays by more than 500 writers who addressed the question, "The nature of humankind: Inherently good or inherently evil?" Adam Bright, a student at Syracuse University, won the argument for evil as determined by a vote of the 450 persons who attended the debate in New York Mills.

Anyone can submit an essay by mail (Think-Off, PO Box 246, New York Mills, MN 56567), on-line at, or by emailing There is no fee, and deadline for submission is April 1 (postmark or electronic date stamp). Finalists are notified by May 1.

Submitted essays should be 750 words or less. While many essayists are likely to use common national experiences as a framework to address this year's question, Think-Off Committee members emphasize that each essayist should approach the question from her or his own life experiences, grounding the abstract question about principle and compromise in everyday, ordinary experience.

The final four writers selected will be invited to debate the question on Saturday, June 8 in New York Mills, with travel costs, food, and lodging covered by the Think-Off's sponsoring organization, the New York Mills Regional Cultural Center.