The Philosophy and Interdisciplinary Studies Programs at UA Little Rock host the annual Arkansas High School Ethics Bowl. The 11th Annual bowl took place on February 4, 2023, on the UA Little Rock campus. Little Rock Central High advanced to an online playoff bowl against the winning team of the Minnesota bowl, and succeeded in winning a place at the 2023 National High School Ethics Bowl in April.
Differing from long established debate competitions, the Ethics Bowl is a venue that encourages collaborative engagement in serious moral discourse. Teams consider and discuss cases drawn from current events, which range from social and political issues (voting rights, capital punishment, gun control), to environmental concerns (sustainable growth and development), to professional worries (hiring practices, workplace safety), to issues arising in the classroom (grade inflation, plagiarism). Teams have a couple of months to prepare the cases, though they do not know which of the cases they will discuss nor the specific question posed for a given case until they face another team.
Teams from high schools across the country compete at the regional level, and winners then go to the national competition where one team emerges victorious. Emphasis is on reasoning and the ability to engage in civil, rational discourse rather than on persuasion and rhetorical technique. The scores of three judges who are recruited from both the academy and the local community determine winners. The competition can be fierce and the winning margins tight. Still, the atmosphere is unceasingly civil and collegial.
Registration for the 2024 Arkansas High School Ethics Bowl will open in Fall 2023.
Each year, all participating schools must register both with the UA Little Rock School of Human Inquiry and with the National High School Ethics Bowl organization.
Note that while the Arkansas High School Ethics Bowl does not charge a registration fee, the National High School Ethics Bowl organization requires a registration fee in order to be counted as a participating school and to be eligible to compete in the National bowl should your team win the Arkansas bowl. Please go online to pay this fee and for more information.
(If the national fee presents an obstacle to your school participating, please contact us or the NHSEB.)
Dr. Jana McAuliffe (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Dr. Michael Norton (email@example.com)
School of Human Inquiry
University of Arkansas at Little Rock
Stabler Hall, Room 405
2801 S. University Ave.
Little Rock, AR 72204