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Ethics team places second

Impressive performance ensures qualification for National Conference

By Lizzie Glaser
On November 30, 2011

The Xavier University Ethics Team placed second out of

22 teams at the Central States Regional Ethics competition on Saturday, Nov. 12, qualifying the team for the National Conference, which is to be hosted in Cincinnati this coming March. Xavier's Ethics Team began three years ago under

the direction of pre-law advisor, Paul Fiorelli, J.D. and Xavier graduate Ashley Taylor, and is now under the direction of Dr. Daniel Dwyer, a professor in the philosophy

department. This year's team consists of seniors Eamon Roach, Pat McBride, and Captain Phil Chevalier, junior Chris Dobbs and sophomore Rory McGuire, all students from the philosophy department. "The students share a solid background in ethics from the philosophy department, particularly the ethics class, Philosophy

100, where they discussed Plato's Republic and various other ethical issues," Dwyer said. "They relied a lot on what they learned in that class during the debate and made the philosophy department proud." The competition consists of

three rounds. In each round, the presenting team, which is determined by a coin toss, gives an eight-minute argument for the ethical relevance of a specific contemporary dilemma. The opposing team then gives a five-minute

rebuttal and the presenting team is given five additional minutes to respond to the rebuttal. Finally, the judges pose pointed questions at the presenting team, requiring it to respond with spontaneous arguments based on its ethical

standpoint. The teams then switch places and argue a different case, so that each team argues two cases each round, totaling six cases for the competition. The teams are judged not on which positions they take, but how clearly and effectively they present their arguments. Judges come from various professions, including teachers, lawyers and

businessmen. The teams were given 15 ethical dilemmas for which to prepare arguments and Xavier's team split

the issues by five, so that each team member prepared to argue three different issues. However, Chevalier saw the most action on the day. "A lot of Phil's cases were called, and he did a great job of spontaneous debate, absorbing large amounts of information in a short period of time,"

Dwyer said. Chevalier, who has been a member of the team since its inception in 2009, believes that the

Ethics Team is a crucial extension of Xavier's Jesuit ideals.

"The conversation at Xavier right now, as far as I can tell, is a conversation about ethics," Chevalier said. "As a team, I think we were able to wrap our heads around a lot of key issues, and we're very grateful to Xavier for that chance." Dwyer shares Chevalier's views. "According to Aristotle, without a proper ethical upbringing, one's ethical views will be distorted. Having an Ethics Team at Xavier raises the level of intellectual debate on campus, and shows that

there are students who take ethics seriously," Dwyer said.


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