Philosophy department to offer more opportunities outside of academics

Alex Traczyk and Alex Traczyk

The philosophy department at the University keeps Senior Lecturer Ian Young busy with all of the different options that are offered.

Not only does Young lecture a classroom, he also keeps an eye on the philosophy club and the ethics bowl team.

Young said that the ethics bowl is a debate competition where there is a series of regional competitions throughout the country.

The ethics bowl began five years ago when a teacher in Illinois wanted his engineering students to think about the ethical implications of what they were doing, Young said.

There are teams that consist of five people who have made it to nationals once in the past.

“Being on the team sharpens argumentative skills and it’s quite good for people who are thinking about law school,” Young said.

There are tryouts for the team each fall and there is a booth for it at Campus Fest.

When going to regionals, there is a free trip to Chicago for all students who are involved.

“The team is not aimed at philosophy students,” Young said. “It’s aimed for any background.”

Graduate teaching assistant Scott Simmons said the ethics bowl team is a unique and good way for students to learn about certain situations.

“It’s a competitive sport that has done reasonably well and students seem to really enjoy it,” Simmons said.

Simmons said he has always been interested in philosophy.

“I think that students don’t realize how much the philosophy department offers for students,” Simmons said.

Other things that are offered are a film group and a new minor, said Associate Professor and Chair of the Dept. of Philosophy, Michael Weber.

The new minor that will be available for students is called Philosophy, Politics, Economics and Law, or “PPEL.”

He believes that it could be interesting to a wide variety of students.

“Students going into law, journalism, public service are some majors where that minor could be interesting and advantageous to them,” Weber said.

Weber said that the University department is very well known nationally and internationally because of the focus of the department.

Young came from New Zealand to be apart of the philosophy program because of the University’s reputation.

“We focus on applied philosophy, but bring that to real world problems,” Weber said.

The philosophy department has also started sponsoring a yearly workshop that invites 10 to 12 major scholars to present papers on applied ethics.

“In each case we’ve been able to publish the papers in an edited volume,” Weber said.

There are courses available in biomedical ethics, computer ethics, environmental ethics and more.

“People may have a stereotype of what philosophy is, guys with long beards pondering thoughts isn’t the only thing we do,” Weber said. “Especially at BGSU we try to engage with the real world and deal with many contemporary issues.”