Portland State University's Philosophy Department hosts annual Oregon High School Ethics Bowl

Hot-button issues took center stage Feb. 10 as dozens of high school students from the Portland metro area spent a day arguing about what's right and wrong.

PHOTO COURTESY: CRISTINA ROJAS - Clackamas High School students gather to compete Feb. 10 in Portland State University's annual Oregon High School Ethics Bowl. The teams included Clackamas Eth-letes Annie Marshall, Alex Williams, Kyle Schuermye, Vanisa Khamkhosy; and Clackamas Not Blue Bobby Campbell, Jacob Cheney, Jawan Ali, Karla Leung and Hunter Rowe.The Portland State University's Philosophy Department hosted the annual Oregon High School Ethics Bowl.

Alex Sager, an associate professor of philosophy and department chair, said the competition promotes critical thinking skills about wide-ranging ethical dilemmas and encourages students to listen to the opposing team's arguments and incorporate them into their own.

PHOTO COURTESY: CRISTINA ROJAS - Students from Oregon City competing in the Ethics Bowl are, from left, Alex Smith, Carter Thomas and Alexis Squires. Another team member, Hailey Flo Flores is not pictured."It teaches high school students how to engage in civil discourse and talk about things they may feel strongly about, but in a way that is respectful to other people," Sager said.

The issues, many drawn from real-world scenarios, range from driverless cars to school choice and gentrification. In the fall, teams — made up of about three to five students — got a set of case studies to begin preparing.

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