Practical Ethics and Responsibility Competition

Welcome to the Uehiro Centre’s Practical Ethics and Responsibility competition!

"How am I responsible for the environment? Should there be limits on how we can punish people who do wrong? If very ill patients want to die, should doctors be held responsible if they help them? Who is responsible for the global spread of infectious diseases?" 

If these and other questions about our responsibilities towards each other, our planet and our future make you think, then this competition is for you!

At the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics we've been thinking about responsibility and how we can all do more to tackle some of the biggest ethical problems facing us today.

We're inviting teams of three 16-18 year-olds to send us a video about an ethical problem and how you think responsibility is involved. 

The best entries will be invited to the University of Oxford for our Ethics and Responsibility Day, where you can take part in a debate, lots of opportunities to discuss ethics with our researchers, and a taste of University life. Oh and there’s a cash prize for the debate winners too!

The Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics is grateful to Schools Outreach Co-ordinator Wedad Rattab, and to the Wellcome Trust for supporting this event.

How to take part

The video
In teams of three, send us a video of up to four minutes in length to tell us about an ethical problem and how you think responsibility is involved. 

Don’t worry about using expensive equipment to make your video. We’ll be judging based on: 
•    Argument: Does the argument make sense? Is it convincing?
•    Clarity: Is it clear what conclusion is being argued for? Is it clear how the conclusion is supported by factual or ethical premises?
•    Originality: Does the argument offer something unusual or new to the debate?
•    Involvement: Are all team members well represented in the video? 

Your video should be original, and please remember that you will need to check copyright if you feature any pre-existing material. 

Videos should be sent to Dr Ben Davies at benjamin.davies@philosophy.ox.ac.uk by noon on Friday 13th December.  If you have trouble sending your video (e.g. the file is too large) please get in touch.

The debate
Winning teams will be invited to take part the debate during the Ethics and Responsibility Day which will take place in Oxford on 24th March 2020. 

 

 

Ideas for topics

You can talk about any ethical problem you like, as long as responsibility is involved. But if you’re having trouble, here are some suggestions to get you started. 

-    How are we responsible as individuals for the environment? 
-    Is a bad upbringing an excuse for committing crimes?
-    Do workers have an obligation to be 'whistle-blowers', or is their main responsibility to their employer?
-    Are producers of video games responsible if they inspire violence?
-    Who is responsible for the global spread of infectious diseases?
-    If very ill patients want to die, should doctors be held responsible if they help them? 
-    Are people who eat meat responsible for the welfare of farmed animals? 
-    Should individual soldiers be held responsible for their behaviour during war? 
-    Should there be limits on how we can punish people who do wrong? 
-    Are we responsible for the lives of people who will not exist until after we have died?
-    Are scientists responsible for how other people use their discoveries?
-    Can we be responsible for our unconscious biases, such as unconscious racism? 

Resources

You don’t need to look at all of these! Once you have your topic, pick the resources that seem relevant for you.

Expand All

The Uehiro Centre podcast series on responsibility 
https://www.practicalethics.ox.ac.uk/responsibility-and-health-care-podc...

Can people with personality disorders be responsible if they do wrong?
https://philosophybites.com/2012/07/hanna-pickard-on-responsibility-and-...

How can individuals be responsible for big social problems?
http://examiningethics.org/2018/11/34-roles-responsibilities-robin-zheng/

Should we bribe people to be healthier? 
https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01g5ztq

How does our personal use of antibiotics affect the spread of infectious diseases?
https://www.oxfordmartin.ox.ac.uk/blog/we-need-to-rethink-our-moral-obli...

Should we tax meat to reduce the use of antibiotics?
https://www.oxfordmartin.ox.ac.uk/blog/why-we-should-tax-meat-that-conta...

Should predicted smokers get transplants?
http://blog.practicalethics.ox.ac.uk/2018/04/should-predicted-smokers-ge...

Should we hold people responsible for being obese? 
http://blog.practicalethics.ox.ac.uk/2015/09/guest-post-the-food-environ...

Is it fair to refuse treatment if someone is overweight? 
http://blog.practicalethics.ox.ac.uk/2012/09/refusing-treatment-to-the-o...

Are we really in control of our behaviour? 
https://aeon.co/ideas/we-arent-really-in-control-so-why-worry-about-neur...

Should criminals get the same health care as everyone else? 
https://aeon.co/ideas/should-a-rapist-get-viagra-or-a-robber-get-a-catar...

Are we responsible for the future? 
https://aeon.co/essays/should-we-take-ethical-account-of-people-who-do-n...

How should responsibility affect access to health care? 
https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10728-019-00366-w

Do we have a responsibility to get vaccinated? 
https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11019-018-9829-y

Will holding people responsible help them be healthier? 
https://academic.oup.com/jpubhealth/advance-article/doi/10.1093/pubmed/f...

Is it fair to punish people who do wrong? 
https://aeon.co/ideas/does-the-desire-to-punish-have-any-place-in-modern...

How do philosophers think about free will? 
https://1000wordphilosophy.com/2014/06/02/free-will-and-moral-responsibi...

Can we be responsible even if someone manipulates us? 
https://1000wordphilosophy.com/2019/02/05/manipulation-and-moral-respons...

Is it helpful to label people ‘criminals’? 
https://aeon.co/ideas/stop-labelling-people-who-commit-crime-criminals

Using predictive policing to prevent crime
https://aeon.co/essays/do-we-really-want-to-use-predictive-policing-to-s...

Should vaccination be compulsory?
https://www.oxfordmartin.ox.ac.uk/videos/the-ethics-of-vaccination-indiv...

Should we prevent crime by changing people’s brains? 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k5LsqOYf488

Do doctors always have a responsibility to treat their patients? 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fz09lp-nebA

Is it right to pay people to be healthier? 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2&v=Z6NyJ3KHGDA

What is ‘lookism’?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=85roWM0JA5o

How can groups be responsible? 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBu0TfQ4Xyk

How does addiction affect responsibility?
http://blog.practicalethics.ox.ac.uk/2018/07/video-interview-richard-hol...

Is responsibility partly about luck?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DpDSPVv8lUE

Is responsibility is a myth? 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-GkUHI2888

Does moral responsibility require ‘free will’?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P-enqLRQU6s

Can groups be responsible in the same way as individuals?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ape1MHmp6_8

What is a ‘collective action problem’? 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p3KlgxYhDbk

Does responsibility require ‘free will’? 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNqjR33gGNU&t=48s

Health

Author Terry Pratchett outlines the case for ‘euthanasia panels’
https://www.theguardian.com/society/2010/feb/02/terry-pratchett-assisted-suicide-tribunal

Paul Hollywood is criticised for ‘diabetes on a plate’ joke
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-50166028

Powerful new gene-editing tool could fix harmful DNA mutations
https://www.theguardian.com/science/2019/oct/21/new-gene-editing-tool-could-fix-most-harmful-dna-mutations

Pharmaceutical firms agree to payout after being accused of ‘profiting from addiction and death’
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/oct/21/opioid-makers-drug-industry-trial-cleveland-ohio
 

Environment

Celebrities admit ‘hypocrisy’ while supporting Extinction Rebllion 
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-50067855

Police Commissioner calls Extinction Rebellion protests “utterly irresponsible”. 
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/extinction-rebellion-protests-bbc-news-climate-change-london-arrests-police-a9151891.html

Fossil fuel firms spent millions lobbying European Union 
https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/oct/24/fossil-fuel-big-five-spent-251m-lobbying-european-union-2010-climate-crisis

 

Politics and society

Payday lender closes amid accusations of ‘unaffordable loans’ 
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-50174367

American citizen involved in Harry Dunn crash sticks to claims of diplomatic immunity
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-northamptonshire-50134394

British man who fought ISIS guilty of terrorism
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-merseyside-50167158

Shamima Begum’s citizenship appeal 
https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/oct/24/shamima-begum-faces-extreme-scenario-in-citizenship-appeal

MPs call to decriminalise drug possession 
https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/oct/23/decriminalise-drug-possession-to-stop-rising-deaths-say-mps

 

Sport

US boxer Patrick Day becomes fourth to die in recent months
https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/boxing/50130006

Instagram bans ‘cosmetic surgery’ filters
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-50152053

 

Education

Report says long-term prisoners should receive student loans
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-50158603

Universities failing to tackle racism 
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/oct/23/universities-failing-to-address-thousands-of-racist-incidents

‘Lunch shaming’ for student in debt
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/oct/23/new-jersey-lunch-debt-barred-dances-field-trips

 

Technology

Report into air crash finds failures by Boeing, airline and pilots
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-50177788

Tech firms think ‘Terminator’ films misrepresent AI risks
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-50166357

Mark Zuckerberg challenged over Facebook’s policy on checking political adverts
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-50152062

Timetable

Competition launch date: 26th September 2019
Closing date for video entries: 13th December 2019 
Video winners are announced: January 2020 
Ethics and Responsibility day: More information coming soon! 24th March 2020

Got a question?

If you have a question please email Dr Ben Davies at benjamin.davies@philosophy.ox.ac.uk.

NB If you have trouble sending your video (e.g. because the file is too large) please get in touch with Ben. 

Terms and Conditions

Practical Ethics and Responsibility Competition: Terms & Conditions

By entering the Oxford Uehiro Centre’s Practical Ethics and Responsibility Competition, you agree to accept the following T&Cs. 

Terms of Entry
1.    Entry to the Oxford Uehiro Centre’s Practical Ethics and Responsibility Competition is free of charge. The Competition is funded by the Wellcome Trust (grant number 104848/Z/14/A).
2.    All video entries must be original and produced by the teams. Any videos that feature plagiarised material will be disqualified. Copyright must be obtained if videos feature pre-existing material.
3.    Videos must address the question of what role responsibility plays in practical ethics today.
4.    Videos should be between two and four minutes long. 
5.    The Competition closing date is noon on the 13th December 2019 and late entries will not be considered. 
6.    The Competition is open to UK entrants only.
7.    Entrants must be pursuing secondary education and be between the ages of 16 and 18 years old.

Video Selection
1.    Winning videos will be selected by the judging panel based on the following criteria:

a.    Argument: Does the argument make sense? Is it well supported?
b.    Clarity: Is it clear what conclusion is being argued for? Is it clear how the conclusion is supported by factual or ethical premises?
c.    Originality: Does the argument offer something unusual or new to the debate?
d.    Involvement: Are all team members well represented in the video?

2.    The judging panel will be comprised of researchers from the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics.
3.    The judges’ decision is final. 
4.    Selected teams (henceforth known as ‘debate participants’) will be contacted during the second half of January 2020.
5.    Selected videos will be featured on the Uehiro Centre’s web page, and images may be used in the Centre’s annual report. 

The Debate
1.    The event will take place in Oxford, UK, on the 24th March 2020 as part of the Oxford Uehiro Centre’s Ethics and Responsibility Day. 
2.    There will be an opportunity for teams which have not been selected to take part in the debate to attend the event.
3.    There is no alternative prize available if debate participants are unable to attend the debate. 
4.    Reasonable travel costs will be reimbursed for UK-based debate participants.
5.    Accommodation costs may be reimbursed if accommodation is required on the preceding Monday night due to length of journey, at the discretion of the Oxford Uehiro Centre. Please discuss with the Centre in advance of any booking. 
6.    Debate winners will receive a cash prize of £300 as a team. The runners up will receive £150 as a team. Prizes will be paid directly to the winning schools.
7.    The judging panel will be comprised of researchers from the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics.
8.    The judges’ decision is final. 
9.    Videos and photographs may be taken during the event, for marketing and communications purposes. Images may be used in the Centre’s annual report.

List of site pages