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2014 Symposium

Seventh Annual Undergraduate Ethics Symposium, April 10-12, 2014


“Virtue and Victory: Ethical Challenges in Competitive Life”


The Janet Prindle Institute for Ethics fosters interdisciplinary reflection on moral issues, including questions of justice and public policy, character, duty, and responsibility. In this our seventh year, we will again host the DePauw Undergraduate Ethics Symposium, designed to encourage undergraduate scholarship and artistic work. This symposium is an outstanding opportunity for student scholars, creative writers, filmmakers and photographers to discuss their ethics-related work with leading scholars and professionals in their fields and to participate in a significant discussion of ethical concerns.


Competition is a pervasive feature of human life; we find it on the athletic field and the battlefield as well as in politics, the business world, the courtroom and the classroom.  What obligations do we have to our adversaries?  Do virtue and integrity enhance or impede our quest for victory?  What should we do when winning conflicts with doing the right thing?  Is competition an obstacle to or an essential component of a meaningful life? Can institutionalized competition in economics or politics enhance the public interest? How should competition be effectively regulated? 

These are just some of the questions that fall under the umbrella of the theme of this year’s Symposium. 

Although we encourage submissions on the “Virtue and Victory: Ethical Challenges in Competitive Life” theme, undergraduate students may submit essays and creative project on any topic in ethics. The Prindle Institute welcomes works centered on ethics from all disciplines, including the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences and the arts. Examples of the types of works accepted in the past include: argumentative and analytic essays, creative writing, poetry, film, documentaries and photography.  


Consisting of DePauw University faculty members, the selection committee for the Undergraduate Ethics Symposium will identify up to thirty works, whose authors will then be invited to the Institute for the three-day symposium, April 10-12, 2014. During the Symposium, these students will meet in seminars led by one of the distinguished visiting scholars or professionals, who will read the students’ works and facilitate discussion about them. The students’ travel (airfare or mileage at $.42 per mile up to $400), lodging, and meals while at DePauw will be covered by the Institute.


The deadline for submissions has been extended to February 7, 2014. Verbal texts should be submitted in Microsoft Word format, not pdf. (N.B. Place your name and affiliation in a separate document, so that the works may be read anonymously.) The precise format of the visual entries may vary, but please note that all works must be submitted electronically, so that they may be transmitted easily to the faculty readers and other students. We would appreciate your submitting the written work in Chicago style. Student essayists (both scholarly and creative non-fiction) and student fiction writers should submit work which does not exceed 3,500 words. Student poets should submit 5-10 poems, not more than 10 pages total; student playwrights and screenwriters should submit a single dramatic work, up to 10 pages in length; film makers and documentarians should submit a single film, up to 10 minutes long; photographers should submit approximately 10 photographs or a video accompanied by a short description. Students whose works are accepted for the Symposium will be notified by March 1, 2014. 

For further information, please contact Linda Clute, Assistant Director,