The Student News Site of Harvard-Westlake School

The Harvard-Westlake Chronicle

The Student News Site of Harvard-Westlake School

The Harvard-Westlake Chronicle

The Student News Site of Harvard-Westlake School

The Harvard-Westlake Chronicle

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Ethics Bowl team competes in semifinals of regional tournament

One of the school’s Ethics Bowl teams reached the semifinals of the 2019-2020 Southern California High School Ethics Bowl tournament after competing against STAR Prep Academy, Glendora and Santa Susana on Feb. 8.

Ethics Bowl team participates in semifinals of regional tournament

The school brought two teams, the second defeating Canyon Crest and California Military but losing to Polytechnic. The groups debated ethical dilemmas to arrive at a morally permissible solution by arguing with opponents and gaining a deeper understanding of moral quandaries, Ethics Bowl team member Izzy Welsh ’22 said.

Co-captain of the Ethics Bowl club and Chronicle Executive Editor Jeanine Kim ’20 spoke to competitors about the club and its significance before the event began.

“My speech really asked the question of what the relevance of Ethics Bowl was and how it distinguishes itself from other activities like debate through its focus on compromise rather than competition,” Kim said. “I wanted to remind participants of why they were here in the first place and how the things we discussed in the tournament could be applied to real life.”

Welsh said one of the cases her team won was enlightening for both schools in that round.

“Today one of the cases we had to debate was whether or not a wedding should be held on a plantation as a venue,” Welsh said. “It was hard for the opposing team to debate our point about it being impossible to separate southern culture and slavery, and the celebration of southern culture through a wedding is inherently a celebration of slavery. However, as they tried to poke holes in our argument, its true morality was further solidified, and we were thrilled to have won that round.”

Team members discuss the importance of compromise when debating a topic

Welsh said she believes that Ethics Bowl stimulates open-minded debate due to its heavy emphasis on compromise rather than disagreement.

“Unlike other styles of debate where one must automatically take the opposite stance as their opponent, in Ethics Bowl you can completely agree with your opponent and ask clarifying questions about the argument proposed,” Welsh said.

Kim said the club encourages students to find the point of view they agree most with and come to an agreement, as opposed to arguing regardless of their opinion.

“Ethics Bowl is one of the few clubs that teaches you how to act in the real world,” she said. “By always putting your moral principles first, even when it’s the harder thing to do, that prepares you for the many difficult decisions we’ll have to face in the future and stresses the importance of doing right rather than just being right.”

Although the teams did not make it to finals, Welsh said that participating in Ethics Bowl was an illuminating experience.

“The best thing about Ethics Bowl is getting to delve deeper into the true ethical dilemmas behind some cases that may appear to be very simple at first glance, only to later find the complex morals at their root that need to be reasoned through,” Welsh said.

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Ethics Bowl team competes in semifinals of regional tournament