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Question for 25th Great American Think-Off tackles nature of truth

"Has the 2016 election changed our perception of truth?"

This is the 25th annual Great American Think-Off question — a heavy-hitter in that it not only addresses the 2016 election for timely relevance, but also tackles the timeless and elusive concept of truth.

The Great American Think-Off is a philosophy competition held each year in tiny New York Mills, Minn. (population 1,200). The year 2017 marks the 25th anniversary of the contest, which is open to anyone, and has received entries from all 50 states and a number of international countries throughout its history.

To enter, submit a 750 word essay by April 1. Four finalists will be selected to receive $500 plus travel expenses and a chance to win the title of America's Greatest Thinker at this year's annual debate, to be held on June 10 in New York Mills.

Essays can be submitted online at, by email to, or by mail to Think-Off, c/o Cultural Center, P.O. Box 246, New York Mills, MN 56567. Finalists will be announced May 1.

The process for determining the annual Think-Off question is never an easy one, but was particularly challenging this year, given the importance of the 25th anniversary of the contest, as well as the current political climate following the historical 2016 election.

Typically, the committee tries to avoid "trendy" cultural questions and instead looks for more timeless philosophical topics. However, after seeking public input and sorting through the responses, several relevant themes emerged: questions about democracy, truth, diversity, cultural relativism, hope for the future. Committee members debated long and hard over which of these themes was most important, most relevant, most truly philosophical. People felt passionate and meetings ran long.

Eventually, just a few days before the Jan. 1 release, the decision was made and this year's question confirmed: "Has the 2016 election changed our perception of truth?" Now the committee eagerly awaits the public's response through the submission of essays.

For contest details and more information, visit or call the Cultural Center at 218-385-3339.

About the Great American Think-Off

Now in its 25th year, The Great American Think-Off is an exhibition of civil disagreement between powerful ideas being explored by everyday people.

Designed to bring philosophy down from the ivory towers of academia and make it accessible for all, the contest has received national acclaim including coverage by C-SPAN, the New York Times, and NBC's Today Show.

The Cultural Center, located in the rural farm and manufacturing town of New York Mills, Minnesota, sponsors this annual philosophy contest and encourages people of all ages and backgrounds to participate.

To get a better sense of the Think-Off, find details, historical information, and a list of all 25 years of questions and winners on the event website: