PHIL 13
Ethics Bowl: Case-Based Reasoning in Ethics Winter 2023

Class Details

This winter study course is inspired by the Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl (IEBĀ®). IEB is a nationwide ethics competition in which teams of undergraduate students cooperatively develop, present, and respond to analyses of a set of 15 morally complex case scenarios from a wide range of personal, professional, or public policy domains. In the national program, all teams receive the cases in advance of the competition, but they are not told what ethical questions about the cases they will be asked to address during the tournament. Thus, teams must work through all facets of the cases in order to be prepared for whatever the moderator and judges may ask. The competition proceeds like a debate tournament, but with a difference: teams need not take a position opposing that of their competitors. They may disagree or concur; either way, they must provide an assessment of their opponents’ arguments and justification for their own conclusions. The emphasis in presentations is on substantive ethical argumentation, not on rhetoric or presentation style, and the positions presented typically represent a consensus among all the team members who have contributed to the preparations and analysis. The course will begin with a brief introduction to reasoning in practical (as opposed to theoretical) ethics and case analysis. Thereafter, students will work through this year’s IEB cases, culminating in at least one public “scrimmage,” which may include teams from other colleges in the NE region. Each class member will collaborate in analyzing all of the cases in-depth, but will take primary responsibility for at least two cases. We will meet together in the classroom for 6 hours per week, and students will be expected to meet in small groups outside of class hours and to work individually to prepare their cases. The discussion sessions will be intensive, but very much student-driven, with the instructor acting as a coach.
The Class: Format: lecture
Limit: 12
Expected: NA
Class#: 1226
Grading: pass/fail only
Requirements/Evaluation: Short paper and final project or presentation. Final paper (5-7 pp) analyzing an Ethics Bowl case of the student's choice, and participation in the public scrimmage.
Prerequisites: None
Enrollment Preferences: None. If the course overenrolls, a random process will be used to select students.
Attributes: STUX Winter Study Student Exploration

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