[The following is a guest post by Maggie Taylor, a PhD student in the Philosophy Department at the University of Colorado Boulder]
I spent yesterday serving as a judge at the Colorado High School Ethics Bowl tournament, one of nearly 40 regional events across the country that are part of the National High School Ethics Bowl (NHSEB). This was my third time participating in an NSEHB tournament, where students respond to cases based on real-world ethical dilemmas. This year’s cases, for instance, had students considering the rights of teachers to go on strike, effective altruism, and whether it’s okay to punch Nazis. Teams of high schoolers are invited to struggle with these and other difficult moral problems in a non-adversarial way. As public debate becomes more partisan and reactionary in the United States, NHSEB tournaments are a bright spot of civility and intellectual rigor. In my experience, NHSEB tournaments have exemplified the organization’s goals to promote “respectful, supportive, and rigorous discussion of ethics” among high school students, and I see tremendous value in such an endeavor.
This year, two NHSEB scenarios (cases 14 and 15) concerned people who use drugs. During yesterday’s tournament, I cringed as I read these cases and listened to a group of talented, compassionate, and sensitive high school students discuss scenarios in the language used by the NHSEB, who referred to the subjects receiving our moral consideration as “addicts.” Continue reading
Philosopher Iskra Fileva weighs in here.
Philosophers David DeGrazia and Tom L. Beauchamp offer some suggestions here.