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Practical Ethics Schools Day 2024

In March, we were delighted to have the finalists of our annual Practical Ethics and Responsibility Competition (PERC) arrive in Oxford for a day of ethics and debate.

Our four teams were from The Royal Latin School, The Laurels School, and Westminster. They earned their place at the Schools Day through their winning video entries in which they outlined an argument on an ethical topic of their choice in just 4 minutes. They chose fascinating topics: whether individual soldiers are responsible for war crimes, whether voters are responsible for the actions of politicians, whether the criminal age of responsibility should be raised, and whether euthanasia is morally permissible. And, most importantly, they engaged with these topics in a thoughtful and nuanced manner.

Our academics took the lead with philosophical activities. Dr. Jonathan Pugh engaged students in a discussion about what counts as an adequate excuse for wrongdoing. Dr. Gabriel de Marco and Dr. Alberto Giublini showed us what it was like to disagree about whether we even have free will. And Dr. Tess Johnson had everyone learning how to escape the muddy depths of slippery slope arguments.

But the students were the ones who really took centerstage. After discussing their own video topics with each other, students were assigned positions in new debates.

Two teams debated whether people with a large social media following have a moral obligation to use their platform for good.

The other teams addressed the question of whether consumers are morally responsible and blameworthy for the negative environmental impact of the fast fashion industry.

Ultimately, the Laurels School were crowned this year’s winners, with the Royal Latin School placing 3rd and our Westminster teams earning 2nd and 4th places.

Huge congratulations to this year’s finalists, and we can’t wait for next year’s competition!

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