By Julia Bae
When walking down the cafeteria hallway during lunch, one can typically hear videos being shared, questions being asked, and engaging conversations being held in each of the club rooms. Interesting debates can especially be heard from Room 205, where Ethics Club, run by Abigail Stephenson ’24 and Paige Whalen ’24, and advised by Ms. Jackson, meets every Day 5.
In Ethics Club, students learn about various ethical frameworks and theories, including Utilitarianism and Kant’s Categorical Imperative. Furthermore, after learning about an ethics case or theory, club members apply newly-learned concepts by discussing and debating ethical situations. Within these activities, students hear new perspectives and opinions, and club co-head Whalen explained, “Our goal is mainly to determine the most moral way of approaching various ethical situations.”
Another central part of Ethics Club is their participation in the annual Ethics Bowl, a competition held from January through March where high school teams debate complex real-life ethics cases. The Ethics Bowl consists of both regional competitions and a national championship. During each round of a competition, two teams compete head-to-head with each other, and they are given a case as well as a question to discuss. Each team analyzes the case, presents their thoughts, and answers questions from the other team as well as from a panel of judges. At the end of each round, judges review each team’s responses and solution to the case, and the winning team advances.
Last year, Winsor made it all the way to the semi-finals of the regional Ethics Bowl, and the team encountered many interesting cases along the way, such as the pay difference between the Olympics and Paralympics and how much control should be placed on deepfakes. This year, Ethics co-heads Stephenson and Whalen are hoping to send two teams to the competition. They are also investigating the possibility of having the club participate in multiple competitions throughout the season.
In addition to preparing for the Ethics Bowl, Stephenson and Whalen also hope to bring in guest speakers from the Philosophy department at Tufts University. Afuture goal is for the club to host its own small Ethics Bowl.
Overall, Ethics Club is the ideal space for students to learn about ethical frameworks and moral dilemmas to also apply their knowledge in real-life cases and competitions. Club member Anya Weerapana ’25 shared, “Ethics Club really encourages me to think hard about topics that wouldn’t have interested me otherwise. I originally joined this club to try something new, but I have found a love for talking about ethical concepts and situations.”