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Recently, eight students in the Debating Society travelled to the London School of Economics to compete in the Ethics Cup, a tournament in which teams of students discuss ethical issues of public concern. There were 11 teams competing overall, including some very prestigious schools.

Each debate was judged by a panel of three judges, whose votes determined who went through to the next round. At lunch time, seven teams were sent home, with four progressing to the semi-finals.

Team Cirencester’s first debate explored whether it is morally acceptable to buy fast fashion, and a convincing effort from the team resulted in a unanimous win, receiving all three votes. In their second debate, they discussed whether it is acceptable for older people to have children. The team put forward some great arguments, and despite losing the debate, they still received one vote. This gave them four in total, which was enough to progress through to the semi-finals.

In the semi-final, team Cirencester debated whether it was acceptable to use artificial intelligence when making parole decisions, which earned them another unanimous win. In the final, the team had to debate whether the Scottish Government should drop the corroboration rule when certain cases go to court. Again, the team won the debate, securing all three of the judges’ votes.

Overall, team Cirencester won three out of four debates, with a total of 10 out of a possible 12 votes and therefore claimed third prize!

Well done to team, made up of Year 1 students Jai and Bethan, and Year 2 students Phoebe, Archie, Lara, Robert, Queenie, and Rachel, on this excellent achievement.

Lori Moss, Lecturer and one of the leaders of the Debating Society, said “This was a great competition, and as the team was mostly made up of students studying A-levels in Philosophy, Politics and/or Law, it is a great way for them to be able to apply the material they’re learning in class to real-life issues.”

Reflecting on the experience, Archie said, “The Ethics Cup has allowed me to see numerous ethical dilemmas from different angles, and it has enhanced my knowledge of ethics as well.” Whilst Phoebe said, “This experience has expanded my ethical knowledge and debating skills, and I will be able to use these in my course.”

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