Ethics Bowl in need of ethics judges

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By Nicholas Brenn

On Nov. 12, 17 college teams from the northeast will travel to Union College for the Northeast Regional Ethics Bowl.

The Ethics Bowl is a debate-style competition in which each team faces off in an attempt to most eloquently and effectively present on a variety of ethical issues.

Responses are judged based on the ability to remain relevant to the given ethical case, the thoroughness of each response and the thoughtfulness of the analysis of ethical implications of each issue. [pullquote]“There are opportunities to explore the legal and historical background, how the political process works, social and economic forces, how various technologies work. The list is endless.”Professor Mark Wunderlich,Ethics Bowl organizer[/pullquote]

The top four teams from each regional competition are then invited to the national competition in Cincinnati, Ohio.

This year, teams will be debating issues such as student voting rights, the extent of our freedom of speech as it relates to the burning of the Qur’an, the ethical practice of puppy mills and many more.

“There are opportunities to explore the legal and historical background, how the political process works, social and economic forces, how various technologies work,” said Ethics Bowl organizer and philosophy professor Mark Wunderlich. “The list is endless.”

Students who are not members of the college’s Ethics Bowl team can still participate. The judges for this competition are Union students who are interviewed and selected to play a role in the outcome of the event.

Ethics Bowl coordinator Professor Amy Bloom, the Associate Director of the Ethics Across the Curriculum Program, is looking for students from all academic backgrounds who can effectively distance themselves from their personal ideologies, and judge based upon ethical principles and philosophy.

The four criteria that student judges must use are thoroughness, avoidance of ethical irrelevance, clarity and thoughtful consideration of a variety of points of view.

Students who are interested in judging the Ethics Bowl should contact Bloom. They will receive a training session to teach them the competition rules and format.

“The students representing Union think through these cases very carefully, and are extremely good at thinking on their feet,” said Wunderlich. “It is a pleasure to see them in action.”

He observed that the Ethics Bowl brings together many different opinions, and it will be exciting “to see how [Union’s] perspectives on the cases fit with [the competition’s] almost certainly different perspectives.”

 

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