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The Great Debate

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Patterned after the Lincoln-Douglas Debates, the Great Debate models civil disagreement for students, faculty, and community members. Each year, a case is selected from the Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl competition for its relevance and impact, and students are tasked with giving presentations and responses that inform and transform attendees. In their responses to each other's presentations, judges' questions, and audience questions, students unpack the complexity of ethical dilemmas and demonstrate moral analysis. Critically, the teams also offer a policy proposal meant to address the problem. 

A non-polarizing conversation

Though we call it a 'debate,' this event is meant to model how complex arguments can be made using ethical reasoning. Our purpose is not to see which team can rhetorically outperform the opposition but instead to reveal how the devil really is in the details. 

Teams are given the topic and a guiding question that can be answered in the traditional "yea" or "nay" format. However, teams need not disagree on the appropriate response. What they will inevitably do, though, is offer different ethical justifications for their position and muster different material facts to support their case.

What the event showcases is that great minds need not always think alike.

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