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Ethics Bowl team advances to national tournament

Posted by Jayme Blaschke
University News Service
December 8, 2008

Ethics Bowl Team

Ethics Bowl team members Jordan Albracht, Sean Batura, Nichole McNiel, Ben Sullivan and Ryan Wieruscheske.

The Ethics Bowl team at Texas State University-San Marcos took first place at the Regional Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio on Nov. 15 to advance to the national tournament.

The national competition will be held March 5, 2009, in Cincinnati, Ohio.

The Texas State team, composed of philosophy students Jordan Albracht, Sean Batura, Nichole McNiel, Ben Sullivan and Ryan Wieruscheske, competed against 14 teams from Texas and Arkansas at the Regional Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl. To prepare for the Ethics Bowl competition, each team received in advance a set of cases raising issues in applied ethics on such wide-ranging topics as the classroom (e.g. cheating or plagiarism), personal relationships (e.g. dating or friendship), professional ethics (e.g. engineering, law, medicine) or social and political ethics (e.g. free speech, gun control, etc.) The team analyzed each case, identifying the core ethical issues and preparing a presentation arguing for the most ethical resolution of these issues.

The seven cases analyzed for the regional competition this year involved medical outsourcing, toll lanes on highways, piracy off the coast of Somalia, an ultrasonic teenager deterrent, babies living in jail with their mothers, “nutraloaf” as a prison disciplinary technique and the rights of Cherokee Freedmen.

Sponsored by the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics, the Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl (IEB) is a team competition that combines the energy and stimulation of a competitive tournament with an interactive approach to education in applied ethics for undergraduate students. Recognized widely by educators, the IEB has received special commendation for excellence and innovation from the American Philosophical Association and received the 2006 American Philosophical Association/Philosophy Documentation Center's 2006 prize for Excellence and Innovation in Philosophy Programs. The format, rules, and procedures of the IEB have been developed to model widely acknowledged best methods of reasoning in practical and professional ethics.

The Texas State team will begin work early in January on a new set of 15 cases for the March national competition in Cincinnati.