DATE: November 21, 2007
Charles Starkey, (864) 656-1128
Ross Norton, (864) 656-4810
Ethics bowl team takes second in regional competition
CLEMSON — The Clemson University Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl team recently returned from Chapel Hill, N.C., with a second-place trophy in the regional ethics bowl competition.
The mid-Atlantic Regional Ethics Bowl was Nov. 17 and pitted 14 teams from the eastern United States vying for a trophy and a chance to qualify for the national competition in San Antonio, Texas, in February 2008.
Clemson advanced to the semifinal rounds with the largest point differential in the field. The team defeated the Williams College team in that round and advanced to the championship round, where it was defeated in a close match by the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
“The team has been very impressive,” said coach Charles Starkey, assistant professor of philosophy. “Their presentation was very strong across the board, and their weeks of intensive preparation paid off.”
For the regional competition each team receives 15 case studies prior to the competition. Each case study involves an ethical dilemma on which the team must develop a position. In preparing the case, the members apply relevant ethical theories and do research that allows them to incorporate a host of relevant information such as legal principles, scientific facts and sociological observations that pertain to the case.
In each round of competition, two teams face off, responding, in turn, to a case-specific question; they have 10 minutes. The other team offers a five-minute critique to which the presenting team responds. This response is followed by 10 minutes of questioning by a three-judge panel. The roles of the teams are reversed for the second half of the round, which deals with a different case. The judges evaluate each team’s performance for clarity, its focus on ethically relevant factors, the strength and cogency of the arguments and deliberative thoughtfulness.
Clemson placed third in the nation last February in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Based on its national reputation, the Clemson ethics bowl team was invited to participate in a debate at the University of Miami on Oct. 23 as part of that school’s “We the Students” program. The team sent veteran members Alyssa Mander and Ben Denison to the debate.
The debate was Webcast live on the Internet, and questions were posed by viewers at universities from around the country, ranging from the University of Arizona to Harvard.
The team consists of Matt McAlister, a senior majoring in philosophy from Greenville; Denison, a sophomore majoring in philosophy from Mechanicsburg, Pa.; Philippa Lieber, a senior majoring in philosophy from Salt Lake City, Utah; Mander, a senior majoring in English from Winter Springs, Fla.; Daniela Scoggins, a senior majoring in philosophy from Pensacola, Fla.; and alternate Adam Shaw, a junior majoring in philosophy from Greenville.
Starkey also is a fellow of the Rutland Institute for Ethics at Clemson. He was assisted by Rutland Fellow Kelly Smith. The team is sponsored by the Rutland Institute and the department of philosophy and religion.