UAB hosts inaugural Alabama High School Ethics Bowl

The first annual Alabama High School Ethics Bowl connected 30 local students with the opportunity to have debates on moral issues.

9296948e52aed4791a9f39c4335a14c0b7c08d96The University of Alabama at Birmingham Department of Philosophy hosted the inaugural Alabama High School Ethics Bowl on Jan. 29, offering an opportunity for local high school students to compete in case-study-based matches where they could provide nuanced answers to difficult moral issues.

Four teams made up of around 30 students from three area high schools — Alabama School for the Fine Arts, Hoover High School and Red Mountain Community School — participated where the winner, ASFA, earned a place to compete in the National High School Ethics Bowl in late 2022.

“The Ethics Bowl engages students in moral reasoning concerning difficult case studies and encourages not dominating one’s opponent or scoring points, but rather collaborating to reach nuanced understanding of tricky moral issues,” said Chris Blake-Turner, Ph.D., assistant professor in the UAB College of Arts and Sciences. “In this way, Ethics Bowl is not only training for engaged citizenship in a liberal democracy, but also engages them in the best kind of democratic process: coming together in a spirit of generosity and trust to work out how to live together.”

Students debated topics including how private and public communicators should disclose scientific information, the morality of a private company to conduct experiments on users for personal gain, the value of journalism, and how machine learning and algorithms can aid the criminal justice system.

Learn more about UAB’s philosophy programs here.

“This is important for UAB because it helps cement us as a leader in the state with respect to developing future leaders and engaged citizens,” Blake-Turner said.

Blake-Turner hopes to continue hosting the Alabama High School Ethics Bowl at UAB for years to come. Schools that may be interested in participating next year can contact //">Blake-Turner directly.