Why We Hold the Ethics Bowl

Participating in the Science and Technology Ethics Bowl helps develop students' intellectual abilities and capacities. The on-campus experience, as much as the encounter with university students and instructors, motivates them for their future academic and professional careers.

The ethics bowl also deepens their understanding of the complex problems of our modern, technology-driven society. In preparing for the debate, and in actually debating with other teams, students acquire a broader horizon and a deeper awareness of the impact science and technology have on human life. Becoming aware of different stakeholder views is a key requirement to assess science and technology in a more holistic, contextual way, and to see their continuing development in its social and personal relevance.

But the ethics bowl also reinforces the students' sense of ethical commitment by showing them how important ethical issues, virtues and values, are. The dilemmatic situations described in each case require the students to identify the values that are most important for them, to articulate them properly, and to understand the consequences that their possible decision might have. Altogether, this develops their sense for what it means to have certain virtues and to act accordingly. Plus, to articulate one's own opinion in public, and to understand, accept, and integrate the criticism of others, strengthens the students' sense of personal responsibility.

Finally, the ethics bowl contributes to the attitudes and virtues necessary for the functioning of our pluralistic and democratic society. Debating promotes both the independence of critical thinking and the openness to the position of others. "Ethics", as it is practiced here, is not limited to an academic discipline and the closed circles of expert discourse. It is brought to society as whole and allows students to become educated citizens by articulating and discussing their judgments and concerns. Thereby it also helps to create a debating culture which is driven by seriousness and mutual respect.