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The Department of Philosophy is very proud to host the very first Saskatchewan high school ethics bowl this year. (The launch of our regional ethics bowl had to be postponed due to the pandemic.) The competition will take place on the main campus of the University of Saskatchewan. The event will take place on campus (ARTS Building) on March 26, 2022.

All inquiries should be directed to

What is an ethics bowl?

An ethics bowl is a competition that promotes a high level of collaboration between students across team lines. Teams of students examine and discuss ethical issues. They imagine, compare and criticize argumentative strategies. They pose and respond to probing questions. This process results in a deeper sense of what the stakes of the discussion are and of what principles underly each point of view. What makes an ethics bowl so different from a debate is that as matches unfold students are encouraged to refine and even to amend their original positions when faced with convincing arguments. This allows students to explore difficult ideas in a collegial and collaborative atmosphere conducive to creative thinking and truth-seeking. 

Teams are formed of five to seven students. To prepare for the competition, schools receive a set of cases that focus on current affairs—social, political, economic, scientific, cultural, or beyond. Recent topics include online shopping, sexting, Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD), worker shortage and the CERB, artificial intelligence, gene editing. Students research and develop the cases in preparation for the competition. Their training also involves getting ready to listen actively to other perspectives. All teams participate in several matches, and winning teams move to the semi-finals and the final.

Registration

Students from all high schools in Saskatchewan are encouraged to register for the event. The registration for the 2022 regional competition is free.

The Saskatchewan ethics bowl is a qualifying event for the national competition in early May.

The registration form and media release form can be found below.

REGISTRATION EXTENDED UNTIL FEBRUARY 1, 2022.

Detail and information

Why participate in an ethics bowl?

The ethics bowl open to all students from Grade 9 to 12. It provides a unique and exciting way for students to develop skills associated with the Saskatchewan K-12 cross-curricular core competencies (in particular: thinking, literacies, identity and interdependence, social responsibility). 

Prior to competitions, students carefully examine and research a set ethical cases based on current events (see the cases above). They rely on various media (videos, newspaper articles, encyclopedia entries, books, etc.) to construct a knowledge of these cases. To do so, they have to think critically about the ethical dilemmas that these cases pose and imagine creative solutions to them. They prepare for the regional competition in collaboration with their team leader and teammates. During matches, students have to articulate their views before a jury and an opposing team. They also have to respond to probes in a spirit of cooperation. In the second round of the same match, they have to actively listen to the opposing team's arguments, and formulate constructive probes. In an ethics bowl, the point of the argumentation isn't to successfully defend a view against attacks, but to propose the most substantial, coherent and original examination of an ethical issue. Students are judged based on their investigative and argumentative skills as well as on their collaborative skills.

Here are additional resources describing the advantages of participating in an Ethics Bowl:

Are School Debate Competitions Bad for Our Political Discourse? in the New York Times.

Program Schedule

Download the program schedule below.