Undefeated Ethics Bowl Team qualifies for nationals

USN's Ethics Bowl team won both the Tennessee Ethical Bowl and the Divisional Playoff, going undefeated over seven matches to qualify for the National High School Ethics Bowl at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Congratulations to Caroline Keiper '25, Zinnia Nichols-Loller '25, Ellie Rothman '25, Ellie Klein '25, Eliza Nichols '25, Amelie Soslow '25, Jaya Gupta '25, and Kati Tong '25.
 
By Jeff Edmonds, Assistant Head of High School for Academics

Last weekend, USN’s Ethics Bowl team sent eight juniors (Zinnia Nichols-Loller, Ellie Klein, Ellie Rothman, Kati Tong, Eliza Nichols, Amelie Soslow, Caroline Keiper, and Jaya Gupta) to compete in the 2024 Tennessee Ethics Bowl at The Webb School in Knoxville, sponsored by the Philosophy Department at the University of Tennessee. USN’s team, the Epicureans, went undefeated through their six matches and ultimately defeated Knoxville Farragut to take home the championship. Over the course of the six rounds, the team won 17 of 20 judge's ballots, perhaps the first time in history that 85% of philosophers agreed on anything.
 
This victory qualified them for the Divisional Playoff, a single match to determine who from the larger division will be invited as one of 24 teams to the National High School Ethics Bowl. USN’s team swept the judge’s ballots, and will head to the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill in April to compete on the national stage.
 
Ethics Bowl is a competition that rewards collaboration, intellectual precision, and clear argumentation, With a 45-minute break for lunch, students wrestled from 8:45 a.m. to 6:45 p.m. with wide-ranging and complex ethical matters, including nuclear disarmament, violence towards Koroks in Legend of Zelda, nutrition in school cafeterias, copyright in the age of AI, the limits of honesty in marriages, and what the producers of Netflix’s "Dahmer owe to his victims," just to name a few.
 
Winning a round takes thinking together about real moral questions with nuance, openness, and curiosity. In each of these cases, the team worked collaboratively to outline ethical stakes, take a clear position, and defend it or adapt it in real-time in response to questions from other teams and trained philosophers. 
 
Faithful to the spirit of student independence at USN, this team was self-coached and student-run. They researched, debated, and constructed all their arguments together. As official coach, my major contributions to the team’s success included taking photos of the trophy and making hotel reservations. I also passed out Pop Tarts at critical moments, when intensely active brains sent glucose levels low.
 
While always appreciative of the higher delights of the mind, the team was also happy to be delivered back to USN in time for the Homecoming Dance, affirming the value, indeed, of all forms of pleasure — as their namesake Epicurus would have it.
 
Please wish these students the best of luck as they prepare over the next weeks to represent USN against the best teams in the country.
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USN Mission: 
University School of Nashville models the best educational practices. In an environment that represents the cultural and ethnic composition of Metropolitan Nashville, USN fosters each student’s intellectual, artistic, and athletic potential, valuing and inspiring integrity, creative expression, a love of learning, and the pursuit of excellence.