San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

November 29th, 2010
Texas State headed to National Ethics Bowl competition


The Texas State Ethics Bowl team, left to right: Ethan Watt, Trista Bishop, James Ziller, faculty advisor Jo Ann Carson, David Newton and Hunter Chambers.


Texas State is sending a team to a bowl this year, but certainly not in football. A five-student team from Texas State’s philosophy department will participate in the National Ethics Bowl competition in Cincinnati in March.

The team is composed of all philosophy majors and consists of Trista Bishop, Hunter Chambers, David Newton, Ethan Watt and James Ziller. They will compete against teams from 32 colleges and universities at the bowl. They qualified for the bowl by winning the Texas Regional competition at St. Mary’s University in early November.

The Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl is sponsored by the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics at Indiana University.

“Ethics Bowl pits one collegiate team against another in debating pressing ethical problems of the day,” said Vincent Luizzi, chairman of the philosophy department. “It gives the players a good understanding of the world of applied philosophy as much as it allows them to showcase and hone their skills of critical thinking and argumentation.”

Before the competition, the Ethics Bowl teams receive a  set of cases that raise issues of practical and professional ethics. Members prepare an analysis of each case and then answer questions posed by a moderator at the competition. The competition includes three rounds, which will include two of the cases.

Questions can run the gamut related to ethics from academic cheating to personal relationships to politics. A panel of judges may ask additional questions and then evaluates the answers.

Ratings are based on intelligibility, focus on ethically relevant considerations and avoidance of ethical irrelevance.

The national Ethics Bowl is part of the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics annual meeting. All three rounds of the competition are scheduled for March 3, 2011.

The Ethics Bowl is in its 17th year and has been recognized by the American Philosophical Association. In 2006, it received the American Philosophical Association/Philosophy Documentation Center prize for Excellence and Innovation in Philosophy Programs.

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