UVU Ethics Team Wins at Regional Competition

UVU Ethics Team Wins at Regional Competition

The UVU Ethics Team took home the top prize at the Wasatch Regional Ethics Bowl at Weber State University. Three UVU teams competed —  one left undefeated after competing against nine other schools, and a second lost only to their own colleagues, the undefeated UVU team.  

Philosophy student Josiah Alderink is a member of the winning UVU team. He said he was recruited by a close friend. “Going into the competition, we were pretty nervous,” he said. “But we decided that if we were going to win this competition, we weren’t going to make it easy on ourselves. Out of the three UVU teams, our team ended up being pitted against some of the strongest teams at the competition. We put a lot of work into our cases, but I think it was really our ability to rely on one another to back our positions and to bolster our weaker points that allowed us to come out on top.”  

The Ethics Bowl, established at the collegiate level in 1993, and at the high school level in 2012, is similar to a debate tournament. In a debate tournament, students are assigned to different sides of a polarizing issue at random. They start with a conclusion and then try to build the best possible argument that will help their team come out on top.  

In an Ethics Bowl, students are presented with a question on a contentious topic. They are asked to present and defend whatever conclusion they determine to be the most ethically and morally correct. Since each team has to come to their own conclusion, opposing teams may sometimes agree, but disagreement is equally expected at an Ethics Bowl. The judges then declare a winner, deciding which side has presented the most persuasive and well-grounded moral argument and has responded best to any questions posed to them. 

Jeffrey Nielsen, a lecturer in the Philosophy and Humanities Department, is the primary faculty advisor for the Ethics Team and helped them prepare for competition. “We receive great support from our department,” he said. “We actually have a class that the team takes where we learn how to evaluate and solve real-world moral issues. No other university that I know of has a class just for this competition.” 

The UVU Ethics Team will be competing at the national competition next February in Atlanta, Georgia.

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