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2016 Ypsilanti Slam Questions

1. Should we judge people from other eras for their moral failings?

2. Is graffiti ever ethically permissible?

3. In my school, there is a transperson taking hormone treatment to go male to female. H/she wants to try out for the field hockey team when the treatments are over. I am on the women’s field hockey team--and a few teammates and I are not sure it is fair.  

4. Is it wrong for me to sidestep the algorithm Airbnb uses to prevent a renter from directly contacting the owner of the place--if the owner finds it acceptable?

5. Suppose in a few decades a law is passed that prevents humans from driving cars. Would this law be morally wrong?

6. If I learned that the best yoga teacher I have ever had is not who she claims to be, does it ethically matter?

7. I am a nurse. One of the patients on my floor is an African-American man with a terminal illness. He is still able to make decisions. His doctors have recommended hospice care. His family is willing, but his minister is against it because he doesn’t trust hospice care. The patient trusts his family and his minister.

8. My son is a teacher. Among the stories he has shared is his school’s practice of suspending low-scoring students with behavioral issues just before testing day. What should he do?

9.Is it morally permissible to cognitively enhance non-human animals? 

10. I have a friend who is a physician. He says some patients insist on having a test and won’t relent until he orders it. He thinks it’s wrong, but gives in because it lessens their anxiety. I think it is wrong because it raises the cost of health care. What do you think? 

11. Is there a moral difference between a stand-up comedian shaming someone who is obese (“fat” jokes) and a hospital health team doing so?

12. Because of the major problem we have with waste, do manufacturers have a moral obligation to create products with longer life spans? Do consumers have a moral obligation to keep products as long as they can without replacing them?

13. Is a VIP designation to any patient in a hospital morally permissible?

14. Is there a moral difference between college scholarships funded by taxes on marijuana businesses and those financed through state lotteries?   

15. A friend has clinical depression. He rarely ventures out and lives on his diminishing savings. We have the same conversations during each visit. It seems like a waste of time. If my visits to him (my actions) don’t make any difference, what is the moral justification for continuing to visit him?  

16. I just paid my taxes. What is an ethical framework for judging a tax?

17. I want to help conservation campaigns protect my children’s future. Which species and habitats need my support the most?

18. Does menu labeling “moralize” food choices? Is it ethical?

19. In the future, warfare will include biotech and genetic enhancements for human soldiers to reduce their risk of being killed and to make them complete “fighting machines.” Should “enhanced” service members be allowed to keep their enhancements after leaving the service?

20. Under what circumstances, if any, is a journalist obligated to set aside the professional principle of “balance” in reporting a story?