Ethics Bowl Team competes, engages in civil discourse

The ASU Ethics Bowl Team competed this past fall in both the Seattle and San Jose Regional Ethics Bowl competitions held by the Association of Practical and Professional Ethics (APPE). Unlike a debate team, which aims to shoot down the points of contention of the other team, the ethics bowl teams try to first explore the complexities of a case and then lay out a detailed argument in a civil, logical fashion. It could be said that they are competing for the most thoughtful argument, not the loudest.

The ASU Ethics Bowl Team is being mentored and coached by Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics fellows Dr. Jennifer Brian and Dr. Ira Bennett, and Izak Dunn, who is the assistant coach of ASU’s Speech and Debate team. The Lincoln Center supports the team through sponsorship and Lincoln academics.

This is their second year of competition. Brian said, "The students have an excellent energy, work well together and are just getting a hang of what it means to construct really good arguments that are clear and coherent and can also speak to the range of different views. I predict they’ll continue to shine in competition and in practice."

The team did not make the National Competition, which will be held on Feb. 21 in Reston, Virginia, but will be meeting every week this semester to discuss and debate the new set of cases released for Nationals.

The team has plans to expand beyond the Tempe campus team in order to have a team on each ASU campus. These teams will compete against each other, thus improving their performance. High school outreach efforts have expanded to Arcadia High School in Phoenix. By participating, students learn about ethics and reasoning, which they can integrate into their lives and their careers. Students interested in joining upcoming teams can contact Brian or the Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics.