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High school students from around the area will get a chance to improve their critical thinking skills and expand their points of view when they compete in the annual Ethics Bowl.

The event, sponsored by the Department of Philosophy and College of Arts and Sciences, will take place today in the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy.

The Ethics Bowl is a competition in which five-student teams from various high schools try to develop solutions to realistic dilemmas using ethical theories and reasoning.

Participating schools this year are Anderson County High School, Austin-East High School, Carter High School, Central High School, Christian Academy of Knoxville, Clinton High School, Farragut High School, Hardin Valley Academy, Jefferson County High School, and Karns High School.

During the competition, teams will get dilemmas to consider. Questions address a variety of issues: If MLB allows Pete Rose to “hold records,” then should it allow him into the Hall of Fame? Should employers be allowed to request access to applicants’ social media profiles? Background information about the questions is also provided.

The students’ responses will be judged by philosophy professors and graduate students, who consider how well the team considered the moral aspects of their case and whether or not they provided a good analysis of ethical theories.

This year’s winning team will have the opportunity to compete at the national Ethics Bowl at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Jason Fishel, co-coordinator of the event with Jeff Cervantez and graduate student in philosophy, says it’s perfect for “thinking students who like to participate in critical analysis to determine what they would do in someone else’s situation.”

C O N T A C T :

Amy Blakely (865-974-5034,

Holly Gary (865-974-2225,