Newsletter Winter 2014 Philosophy for Children

Submitted by Kate Goldyn on


Washington State High School Ethics Bowl, which was sponsored by the UW Philosophy Department, Program on Values in Society, School of Law, and the College of Arts & Sciences Social Sciences Division, as well as several law firms. An Ethics Bowl is a collaborative yet competitive event, in which teams analyze a series of wide-ranging ethical dilemmas, deepening the awareness of high school students about interesting ethical, legal and philosophical issues. The event was held in Savery Hall on Saturday, February 1, 2014, with 22 high school teams participating. Over 200 people attended, including 100 high school students and their coaches and more than 50 volunteer lawyers, judges, faculty, graduate students and undergraduates from around our region.

First place went to Seattle Academy, and that team will continue on to the National High School Ethics Bowl in April at University of North Carolina. Other awards were as follows:

Second place: Lake Washington High School
Third place: Roosevelt High School
Fourth place: Chief Sealth High School
Spirit of the Ethics Bowl (tie): Lakeside School and STEM High School

Judges for the competition were drawn from the judicial, legal, policy and philosophical communities, and included Judge Mary Yu, retired Judges Anne Levinson and Harriett Cody, Solicitor General Noah Purcell, Seattle City Attorney Peter Holmes, Legal Voice director Lisa Stone, many lawyers from prominent Seattle law firms, faculty from University of Washington's Law School, Department of Philosophy and College of Education, and others. An article about the event appeared in the Seattle Times:

So far this year over 50 faculty, graduate and undergraduate students, and volunteers have led philosophy sessions in Seattle public schools, helped coach High School Ethics Bowl teams, and been involved in developing new relationships with teachers and administrators at various Seattle schools. The Center's new philosopher-in-residence program, made possible with a grant from the Squire Family Foundation, began this fall at John Muir Elementary School. John Muir is a culturally diverse K-5 school in Seattle's Rainier Valley, and many students there are among those least likely to have access to academic enrichment programs. The Center has been working closely with teachers and staff at John Muir for the past four years to bring philosophy into most of the school's classrooms: philosophy has been introduced into every grade level at the school, Center staff are facilitating a monthly philosophy professional learning community for teachers and staff for the third year, and many John Muir teachers have attended one of the Center's summer workshops. This new program involves the regular presence at the school of philosopher Karen Emmerman, who received her Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Washington in 2012 and started working with the Center and teaching philosophy classes at John Muir in 2010. We are hoping to expand the philosopher-in-residence program to other local schools in the next few years.

The Center will hold its annual summer workshop June 26-27. The workshop focuses on ways to introduce philosophy to young people. For more information, click here

The Center was formerly known as the Northwest Center for Philosophy for Children, but its name has been changed to The University of Washington Center for Philosophy for Children. This new name builds awareness of its connection with the University of Washington and better reflects the Center's national and international work.

The Center's work is made possible by the donations of private donors - we hope you will consider supporting our work. We really appreciate your gifts - thank you very much!