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Think-Off question set; essay deadline April 1

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NEW YORK MILLS -- America's premier amateur philosophy contest, The Great American Think-Off, has released its 2009 essay and debate question: "Is It Ever Wrong to do the Right Thing?"

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The Great Debate will be held on June 13 in New York Mills, before a live audience.

Entering the competition is easy. Just submit an essay of 750 words or less by April 1, 2009 (postmark date).

You may send your essay in one of three ways: Through the mail to Great American Think-Off, New York Mills Regional Cultural Center, P.O. Box 246, New York Mills, MN 56567 or send an e-mail to jamie@kulcher.org (no attachments) or submit the essay online at www.think-off.org.

The key to writing a successful essay is to ground your argument in personal experience. The judges are looking for essays that address this central problem of moral philosophy by speaking about personal experience rather than abstract philosophical reasoning.

Tell a good story that shows a firm standing on one side or the other of this philosophical divide.

A panel of judges will select four finalists to come to New York Mills for the final debate, to be held June 13, 2009.

The names of the four finalists, who will each receive $500 plus travel, food and lodging expenses, will be announced May 1, 2009.

The winner is decided by the audience attending the June 13 debate, and she or he will be named "America's Greatest Thinker" for 2009.

Celebrating its 17th year, the Great American Think-Off is a national philosophy competition providing an opportunity for ordinary people to voice their opinions on some of life's more perplexing questions.

Last year's question, "Does Immigration Strengthen or Threaten the United States?" was debated successfully by Craig Allen of West Linn, Oregon.

Other questions debated in this annual event have included "Which Should

You Trust More, Your Head or Your Heart?" (2007), "Which is More Valuable to Society: Safety or Freedom?" (2005), "Is the Pen Mightier than the Sword?" (2002), "Is Democracy Fair?" (2000), "Is the Death Penalty Ethical in a Civilized Society?" (1997), and "Is Honesty Always the Best Policy?" (1998).

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