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XU Ethics Bowl takes philosophy to Indianapolis

By Hollis Conners
On November 21, 2012

The Ethics Bowl, an APPE Regional event, hosted 20 universities on Nov. 3 In Indianapolis at Marian University.
Xavier's team played three other schools; Belmont, Mount St. Joseph and Butler.
This was the first year Xavier was able to compete as a team. They were approved in October.
The competition was set up in a debate format.
The team received 15 ethical cases, with topics including the difference between street art and vandalism and if children owed their parents anything.
The team was given a few weeks to propose ethical responses to each case, and when the competition rolled around, teams were posed questions about each case.
"You were able to think on your feet in a very interesting way," team member Taylor Fulkerson said. "As a team we also were able to jump in when someone needed a little extra support or had exhausted a thought. Together we figured out ethical responses as best we could and had fun in the experience."
There are many factors that categorize a response an ethical one.
When responding, the team tries to treat persons as ends, recognize equality among individuals and groups of people and preserve rights of all people involved.
However, the main goal when posing ethical responses is to maintain as many of the factors as they can, and at the same time reach the greatest good possible.
There are multiple ethical systems used in formulating ethical responses during competition. Xavier's team focuses on one.
"One way I think our team is unique is that we take a philosophical approach to these cases," team captain Chris Dobbs said. "We take the ethicists students may have heard about in PHIL 100, from philosophers like John Stewart Mill, Kant and Aristotle, and apply them directly to these tough cases.
Instead of trying to find loopholes around the problem presented by the case we try to ground our principles directly in the thought of these writers."
The team is considering expanding their participation in competition to a bioethics competition held in Georgetown yearly.
Those interested in getting involved have a chance to join next fall.
Participants must have a willingness to speak in front of people, a working knowledge of the utilitarianism, virtue ethics, Kantian deontology and the ability to use good rhetoric.


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