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Ethics Bowl Team

In 2017, the Philosophy and Religion Department launched an Ethics Bowl program. Ethics Bowl is a collegiate debate competition where teams of between 4-6 students present arguments on specific cases based on normative ethical frameworks and detailed empirical information. In the months leading up to a competition, participating teams receive a packet of ethically complex and controversial cases that will be the subjects of debates. Topics covered in recent competitions include “the Muslim Ban”, “Are rivers people?”, “Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions Movement”, and “Fake News”.  The most challenging aspect of Ethics Bowl is that teams must be prepared to argue both sides of a topic or case, since the cases are chosen randomly during each round of competition, and teams choose the position they defend based on the flip of a coin.

The first competition the team attended was the Northeast Regional Ethics Bowl Competition at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY. Students met for four hours every Friday afternoon in the Philosophy department for 8 weeks with advisor Professor Ben Yelle in order to prepare for that debut competition. Then, in Spring 2018, the team prepared for 6 weeks before travelling to Mobil, AL, for the National College Bioethics Bowl, where topics included such things as ‘doctor-patient confidentiality’, ‘should illegal immigrants get healthcare?’ and ‘transgender athletes’.

To support the Ethics Bowl Program, the Philosophy and Religion Department has created a course titled Debating Ethical Issues that is a contemporary moral issues course based on Ethics Bowl cases. In addition to travelling to competitions in 2018-19, Northeastern’s Ethics Bowl team is also planning to host a competition at Northeastern that has a technology and information ethics focus.

For more information about the program, please contact Prof. Benjamin Yelle at b.yelle@northeastern.edu or Kaleem Ahmid at ahmid.k@husky.neu.edu


2018 National Bioethics Bowl

University of South Alabama, April 14-15, 2018

Check out more pictures from the competition here.


2017 Northeast’s Regional Ethics Bowl

Marist College, November 11th, 2017

Check out more pictures from the competition here.