Ethics Slam             Ethics Bowl             Case Writing Competition        

2013 Slam Questions

1. A friend of my father has dementia and lives in a home with others who have the same affliction. His wife visits him. He has a romantic relationship with another woman who lives in the home. Is it right for the staff to prevent them from seeing each other if the wife is upset about the relationship?

2. In an organization, is there good reason to think that diversity of gender and race will result in tolerance and fairness for diversity of thought? 

3. At what point does it become an “ethical issue” when robots take human jobs? 

4. If we decide to have armed guards in elementary schools, what are the ethical issues? 

5. Should a museum be forced to return artifacts that were stolen centuries before the museum acquired them?

6. If I need my electronic devices, like my iPhone to run my business, but I know the working conditions of people making iPhones suck, is it still ethical to own one?

7. Is “academic redshirting” of children entering kindergarten wrong?

8. I want to know about the ethical issues involving state prisons run by private contractors and companies.  

9. I voted in the past election. One of the state candidates I voted for was not really qualified (you have to trust me) BUT he agreed with the one issue I feel VERY strongly about. The other candidate was qualified, based on his experiences. I agreed with him on all issues except the issue I care about most. If everyone voted like I do, is that an ethics problem?

10.  Is “slum tourism unethical?  

11. What may I NOT do in attempting to make a living?

12. Should research that is done by scholars be free for all? I am not talking about access. I am talking about not being sold. Should some things not be sold? Like academic research.

13. Is it wrong for a real estate agent to represent both the buyer and the seller? 

14. Is ethics just a burden for companies or does it pay to be ethical?

15. If I am a member of a group that thinks that my school has invited an unethical commencement speaker, what is the most ethical way to show this? 

16. I feel betrayed by Lance Armstrong. I wore the Livestrong bracelet in memory of a family member. When total mistrust rules, what are some good ways to earn trust back in a completely compromised--in this case, sport? 

17. Mark Twain supposedly said, “Be good and you will be lonesome.” What does that mean for ethics? 

18. Is it ever acceptable to prescribe a placebo treatment to a patient who doesn’t require treatment, but is adamant about receiving it?

19. Why should I care about ethics if everyone around me is acting unethically? Here is an example of what I am talking about: even if I have evidence about my roommate and other students in my class cheating on a test, I will be the one exposed, if I tell the professor.  I need some advice. 

20. If we could manipulate moral decision-making by altering our brain chemicals, should we?

21. Are voter ID laws an ethical issue? 

22. What should I say to a friend who is always telling me “she is only human,” when she does something I think is really wrong? 

23. Is it ethical to allow women in combat positions in the U.S. military?

24. Should our society extend moral standing or give moral status to things in the nonhuman natural world? Like rivers, forests and deserts? 

25. Politicians talk about questions we must answer as a society. Suppose we had a discussion about how to fairly distribute limited health care resources in our society. How would the people in the Slam answer the politicians? 

26. I recently saw a story about the Italian scientists who were convicted for criminal negligence because they failed to forewarn people about an earthquake. Should scientists, and other experts, be morally liable for inaccurate predictions?

27. Should the U.S. military be prohibited from deploying automated drones on ethical grounds? 

28.  When my mother was terminally ill, my sisters and I did not agree on whether we should take her off the machines that were keeping her alive. One of my sisters decided for us. Are there instances when it is right for one family member to make the decision? What are they? 

29. Why do many of us believe there is something more blameworthy and more culpable about a drunk driver who kills someone accidentally on the way home than one, who equally drunk, drives home without anything happening? 

30. People think that if you just disclose a conflict of interest that it passes the ethics smell test. Can you tell us two examples when just disclosing a conflict of interest is NOT ethical enough? 

31. What is wrong with surveillance? 

32. In several areas today, there has been a trend--separate schools for boys and girls. The reason is that they will better succeed. Isn’t this going backwards--in ethics? 

33. If Oscar Pistorius, the double amputee running on prosthetics had won a medal in the 2012 Summer Olympics, would he have won using unethical means? Should we consider that his performance was “enhanced?” 

34. How can I tell if an ethical question I face is a big or a little one? Does it matter---ethically? 

35. Would it help if the public discussion about obesity and ultra thinness (think fashion models) focused on them as ethics problems?