Philosophy Club Reaches Semifinals of New England High School Ethics Bowl

Andover Philosophy Club members noted the connections they made with teams from other schools.

Andover Philosophy Club traveled to Tufts University last Saturday to compete in the New England High School Ethics Bowl. The team reached the semifinals, where they presented their ethical perspective on various scenarios to a panel of judges and learned about ethical awareness, civic discourse, and engagement.

Despite being relatively new to Philosophy Club, Josephine Banson ’22 was excited to have the opportunity to participate in the tournament.

“I first heard about Philosophy Club through the club fair Fall Term. I just wanted to join because I have never really done anything regarding ethics or philosophy, and I thought that it would be a great chance to learn more about it. The reason why I wanted to do this tournament specifically was because I wanted to practice being able to talk about ethics and learn more about the different applications of it in real life, so I thought that this was a really good opportunity for that,” said Banson.

According to Banson, the ethics bowl team studied 15 cases before the competition to be well-prepared. Daniela Velasquez ’22 discussed the value of collaborating with other team members to solve ethical problems.

“I think a big thing about ethics is bouncing your ideas off each other and trying to find holes in each other’s arguments and trying to find the best logical conclusion to something… Part of the point of Ethics Bowl is just to have an open conversation about these issues and just to try to come to some sort of conclusion or try to get a little further in understanding the issue. The point of Ethics Bowl is more trying to understand the issue rather than winning the competition,” said Daniela Velasquez.

Will Leggat ’20 worked with Dr. Kiran Bhardwaj, Instructor in Philosophy and Religious Studies, to develop the ethics club curriculum. According to Leggat, the ethics bowl team went up against a team from the Winsor School in the third round of competition. Despite losing to Winsor, Leggat recalled the sportsmanship shown by both sides and expressed the desire to continue staying in contact.

“We went against [Winsor] in our third round, right before we both advanced to semifinals, and both Winsor and we really enjoyed each other. They were a really great opponent, and they’ve got a lot of good sportsmanship. They were really interested in figuring out what we were saying and why we were saying it. We lost to them, but we ended up having lunch with them at the tournament,” said Leggat.

At the ethics bowl, Ariana Velasquez ’22 was able to learn about listening to the different sides of an issue. She said that Ethics Bowl also allowed her to build strong connections with her team members through the different scenarios that they faced.

“Through Ethics Bowl, I learned how to be able to express myself more clearly while speaking out loud and to be able to have a very organized, laid out plan for what I’m speaking rather than speaking on a tangent. It’s the idea of communication skills and just the ability to be able to listen to another perspective and, in the moment, absorb those perspectives and add onto my own thinking and then adapt my own thinking so that I can have enriching conversations with other people rather than simply arguing,” said Ariana Velasquez.

Editor’s Note: Daniela Velasquez is an Illustration Editor for The Phillipian.