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Sixteen teams, representing 13 high schools and comprising more than 100 students, will compete in the eighth annual Tennessee High School Ethics Bowl on Saturday, February 4.

UT’s Department of Philosophy and Humanities Center are organizing the event. Home Federal Bank is sponsoring the bowl, which is one of the largest high school ethics bowls in the nation, based on the number of competing schools.

The competition will take place at the Holiday Inn World’s Fair Park downtown. It will begin with an opening ceremony at 8:30 a.m. and conclude at 5:45 p.m. The public is invited to watch the bowl.

“In a democratic society like ours, we are always going to have disagreements—in particular, moral disagreements. To function well, we all need to be able to engage each other in respectful debate and dialogue rather than retreating to our corners,” said Alex Feldt, UT lecturer in philosophy and director of the event. “This requires both critical thinking and respect for others’ values; it requires an understanding of why it is we might reasonably disagree and what we can do about it. The ethics bowl helps provide students a foundation for this.”

Tennessee high school students will analyze a series of controversial ethical issues, including challenges to religious liberty, police violence, the value of virtual reality, online privacy rights, public health, and conscientious objection to contraceptive coverage. The teams will present their ideas to judges, including UT faculty and Knoxville community leaders.

The winner of this year’s Tennessee High School Ethics Bowl automatically qualifies for the National High School Ethics Bowl, which will be held April 7-9 at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.



Lola Alapo (865-974-3993,

Alex Feldt (865-974-3255,