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Benefits of Participating in the THSEB

The THSEB is incredibly beneficial to students, as it encourages reflective, civil public discourse and promotes ethical awareness and responsibility. Preparation for and participation in the event also improves participants' critical thinking and analytical skills by introducing them to philosophy, a foundational and critical academic discipline not typically present in secondary school curricula. The THSEB gives students a unique, non-combative opportunity to compete while developing crucial skills via collaboration with other students and judges from a diverse set of personal and academic backgrounds.

More specifically, THSEB participants learn to argue respectfully with their peers, taking special care to appreciate and engage with divergent perspectives on challenging and often controversial topics. In so doing, students are able to approach a deeper engagement with moral and political issues that goes beyond conventional understanding. Participating students are, perhaps most significantly, encouraged to consider ethical issues that they may never have thought about before, as well as to view everyday moral problems from the perspectives of those most affected. In preparing students to navigate complex moral issues in a systematic, rigorous, and open-minded way, a central mission of the THSEB is to foster the development of informed, critical, empathetic, and, ultimately, virtuous citizens of a 21st century democratic society.


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Department of Philosophy
College of Arts & Sciences

801 McClung Tower, Knoxville TN 37996-0480
Phone: 865-974-3255 Fax: 865-974-3509
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The flagship campus of the University of Tennessee System and partner in the Tennessee Transfer Pathway.