The Puget Sound Ethics Bowl team participated at the 2022 Northwest Regional Ethics Bowl that took place at PLU on November 19th. The team included Jules Obbard ’23, Mei Pacheco-Leong ’23, Ember Reed ’23, J.J. Alvarez ’23, Lauren Rice ’23, Elizabeth Matsumoto ’25, and Katerina Wearn ’25 and was coached by Prof. Tubert.
The group spent the fall semester hard at work preparing the 12 cases for the competition — the cases involved ethical issues related to non-human animals, the environment, technology and social media, litigation financing, mental health and health care more generally, and sports. Most students in the group had competed in the National Bioethics Bowl in the spring so they hit the ground running at the start of the fall, meeting additional time in small groups or taking advantage of Prof. Tubert’s office hours as the competition approached — they took their research and preparation seriously and kept digging on the relevant ethical issues. This showed in the quality of the team’s presentations and in the great conversations throughout the semester.
The competition started with a disappointing loss in the first round, one of those where the team won in the overall number of points but loss two out of three judges (winning a round depends first on number of judges, then on points.) The team continued on with their good work and ended up being one of four teams reaching the semi-final round. During the semi-finals, they lost against the team that went on to win the whole competition but they held their own and got the fourth place spot.
This team has several graduating seniors who, together with the rest of the group, made ethics bowl a great success. What a great group with lots of enthusiasm, talent, thoughtfulness, and commitment! We will miss those of you who are graduating!
Some of the students reflected on their work during the fall semester and being part of the competition:
Elizabeth Matsumoto ”25: This season, the cases were harder, the research was longer and there were more frameworks to learn. However, the team was incredible. As a non-philosophy major, I learned a lot and stretched my brain beyond just classroom applications of philosophy. Learning about Korsgaard to for argue animal rights, or Mill’s harm principle to argue the limits of free speech was complex and exciting. As I competed with the team last semester, we all worked really well together it was really fun continuing our discussions on ethics. Professor Tubert was such an amazing coach, and we couldn’t have made it to semi-finals without her!
Mei Pacheco-Leong ’22: Skills I have built in ethics bowl over the past couple of years: Confidence. Specifically confidence in speaking in front of others, confidence in sharing ideas, confidence in offering critiques of ideas, confidence in offering critiques of ideas in good faith. I’ve learned to distinguish the practical from the ethical, learned how to problem solve, ethically, learned how to resolve disputes within a team and present as though we are unified, learned how to resolve disputes within a team and present as though we are unified, despite having a resident utilitarian on the team who always disagreed with the rest of us.
Consequences of these skills:: I went from never speaking in class to participating more confidently in class discussions and debates. In a way, I argued my way into a job; I offered criticism of the current way things were running, and offered solutions to the problems I had identified. Lo and behold, I was offered a job! When my friends have moral dilemmas I am able to apply frameworks and weigh competing values and offer them advice. (Unfortunately most normal people do not apply moral frameworks to real life and rarely take my advice.)
Overall, ethics bowl has been such a special opportunity and I’m grateful to both my team and coach for pushing me and helping me build these skills!
Lauren Rice ’22: My experience with ethics bowl was full of learning and was extremely positive. I was new to ethics bowl this year, and was unsure exactly how it would go; I have struggled with public speaking in the past. However, I gained so much confidence throughout the semester in how to speak without relying on notes, a skill that I think is very valuable. I also learned a lot about researching the cases and making sure that the research is reliable and accurate. This was one of the parts of ethics bowl that I became very excited about as the semester went on. Our team became a lot closer as we neared the competition date, and we learned a lot about how to work together on differing opinions and ideas. Our coach, Professor Tubert, taught us so much about how to present our arguments, and the flaws that we may originally have with what position we want to take. I wish that I was here next year again solely to be able to participate in the ethics bowl competition again. I learned so much about structuring, researching, and presenting arguments, and it was one of my favorite parts of the semester this year. A large thank you to Professor Tubert for allowing me the opportunity to join the team and supporting me in learning how to be a part of ethics bowl, as well as supporting my overall learning about ethical arguments and presentations.
Jules Obbard ’22: This year’s ethics bowl team was a great group of people, and I had a great experience competing with them. We worked hard and had tough conversations about a variety of topics. We learned a lot about different issues that we wouldn’t have been taught in other classes and interrogated them from multiple perspectives. The dynamic of the team was really good because a lot of us were returning to the club. We had an amazing time at the tournament and even got to semi finals. I would recommend ethics bowl to anyone who wants to be a part of a fun learning experience and meet like minded individuals. Thank you Professor Tubert for organizing ethics bowl again and coaching us! I’ll miss ethics bowl after I graduate.
Katerina Wearn ’25: Ethics Bowl has been something that pushed me from the moment I joined. Last year was my first year on the team and I spent most of my time just trying to find my footing. This year, however, I felt more confident in my position within the team. I was more willing to push my ideas forward and really get into the details of the complicated cases we were given. The progress of that alone makes me recognize just how incredible Ethics Bowlas been in getting me outside of my comfort zone and showing me what I am capable of. On top of that, the team this year was fantastic and supportive all around. Spending time on our cases and doing practice rounds, was genuinely so much fun it felt just like hanging out with friends.