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2013 presidential address

1. Teaching Ethics: Volume > 15 > Issue: 1
Deborah S. Mower

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The robust research within Project Implicit drives home the discomforting fact that many of us have implicit biases that we may believe lead to unethical action and which we may have attempted to eradicate from our thoughts. I examine the problem that implicit bias poses for moral education, and search for a solution by examining the alternatives of culture, character, conscience, and moral sensitivity. I argue that each fails individually, but that a potential solution to the problem comes through the creation of a limited “culture” within our classrooms; specifically, a culture that cultivates moral sensitivity as a collaborative endeavor.

special section: philosophical practices for pre-college ethics education

2. Teaching Ethics: Volume > 15 > Issue: 1
Maughn Gregory

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John Dewey wrote of moral education as growth from impulsive behavior to a “reflective morality,” involving the pursuit of ends-in-view identified through practices of critical reflection and social interaction. The essays in this section explore a variety of such practices as a philosophical approach to K–12 ethics education. The essays draw on, and contribute to three educational movements that aim for particular kinds of reflective consciousness and agency. Socratic Pedagogy engages students in problematizing the status quo, inquiry to identify truth, and self-correction. Critical Pedagogy utilizes school subjects to raise students’ political awareness and as methods of political inquiry and agency. Contemplative Pedagogy introduces practices of mindfulness to help students cultivate curiosity and attention and to bring personal insight to bear on their studies. Teaching ethics as a series of philosophical practices helps students and teachers become more sensitive to ethical meaning and skillful in ethical inquiry and agency.
3. Teaching Ethics: Volume > 15 > Issue: 1
Stefano Oliverio

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The paper takes its cue from the emergence in our society of a new view of the adolescent, which a branch of the psychological literature has spelled out in terms of a passage from Oedipus to Narcissus. It is argued that pre-college ethics education should engage with this passage by deploying educational strategies modelled according to the Care of the Self paradigm (as theorized by Michel Foucault and Pierre Hadot) but revisiting it through Kierkegaard’s idea of repetition. The latter prevents that paradigm from fostering a sort of aestheticization of ethical life and allows us to mobilize it in ethics education. Against this backdrop two pedagogical methods—autobiographical writing and essay writing—are discussed as possible tools for a Care-of-the-Self-oriented education.
4. Teaching Ethics: Volume > 15 > Issue: 1
Gabriele Münnix

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In German schools, philosophy, ethics, or practical philosophy (the names differ) are ordinary school subjects in lower secondary education (beginning at the age of 11). The author who was member of a commission to introduce the subject and to prepare a curriculumin for North Rhine Westphalia has formed teachers of “Practical Philosophy”and “Ethics” and gives an insight into didactical principals, methods and media of a problem centered teaching of philosophical ethics by describing an example, a unit about prejudice and justice.
5. Teaching Ethics: Volume > 15 > Issue: 1
Beth Dixon

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In our local school district some teachers have chosen to use fables as a way of integrating character education into their 4th and 5th grade curriculum. This paper about fables and philosophy illustrates how to employ philosophical inquiry to discuss the moral virtues. Aristotle’s remarks about the particular moral virtue of friendliness is a paradigmatic example for writing philosophy discussion plans that cultivate ethical judgment—one component of educating for moral character. However, the methodology I recommend can be generalized to stories that are not fables, and also can be made appropriate for different grade levels. Included here is a lesson plan for Arnold Lobel’s fable “The Lobster and the Crab,” used in a 4th grade classroom. Also included is a short transcript of the students’ dialogue.
6. Teaching Ethics: Volume > 15 > Issue: 1
John Fantuzzo

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This paper contends that the primary aim of teaching ethics to court-involved youth should be the realization of respect. I make this argument by defining what is meant by a practice of respect using Bernard Williams’s "The Idea of Equality." I then couch this understanding in my recent experience leading a moral/political philosophy workshop with court-involved youth in Harlem, New York. Raising the objection that educational opportunity, not the practice of respect, should be the primary aim of teaching court-involved youth, I respond to this objection by examining the stated aims of two prison education programs, Inside Out and Bard Prison Initiative. I argue that the educational opportunities within a broken system can hinder the practice of respect, while educational opportunities can arise from the practice of respect.


7. Teaching Ethics: Volume > 15 > Issue: 1
Joe Mintoff

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Socrates declared that the unexamined life is not worth living, but if someone opens themselves up to Socratic cross-examination, they are likely to fail, and on a matter of no small importance—how best to live. They will want to be able to pass their exams. Fortunately, philosophers’ avowed aim is (amongst other things) to teach and facilitate ethical reflection. Someone who aims to lead an examined life, then, will want these instructors to teach and to help them to pass elenctic exams on how best to live. The purpose of this paper is to describe and defend a mode of philosophy instruction with this as its sole aim, by responding to various objections leveled against other approaches within the Socratic teaching tradition.
8. Teaching Ethics: Volume > 15 > Issue: 1
Paul Thagard

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This paper describes the role in applied ethics of a new method of representing values using cognitive-affective maps. Value mapping has been used in two undergraduate courses in medical ethics and in environmental ethics. Students have found the method easy to use and also informative concerning the nature of ethical conflicts, and they often change their minds in the course of developing value maps.
9. Teaching Ethics: Volume > 15 > Issue: 1
Susan T. Gardner

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There is a clear distinction between genuine and fraudulent reasoning. Being seduced by the latter can result in horrific consequences. This paper explores how we can arm ourselves, and others (particularly our youngsters) (1) with the ability to recognize the difference between genuine and pseudo-reasoning, (2) with the motivation to maintain an unbending commitment to follow the “impersonal” “norm-driven” rules of reason even in situations in which “non-reasonable” strategies appear to support short-term bests interests, and (3) with the confidence that genuine reasoning is the best defense against the pseudo-reasoning. It also provides a simple table of “markers” whereby genuine reasoning can be distinguished from the “fake stuff.”
10. Teaching Ethics: Volume > 15 > Issue: 1
Michelle Ciurria

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This paper is about the meaning(s) of situationism. Philosophers have drawn various conclusions about situationism, some more favourable than others. Moreover, there is a difference between public reception of situationism, which has been very enthusiastic, and scholarly reception, which has been more cynical. In this paper, I outline what I take to be four key implications of situationism, based on careful scrutiny of the literature. Some situationist accounts, it turns out, are inconsistent with others, or incongruous with the logic of situationist psychology. If we are to teach students about situationism, we must first strive for relative consensus amongst experts, and then disseminate the results to philosophical educators in various fields.
11. Teaching Ethics: Volume > 15 > Issue: 1
Lisa Kretz

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Teaching ethics at the university level in the Western tradition tends to focus on teaching ethical theories, or—in the case of applied ethics—applying theories. Success in ethics courses is occasioned by the ability to articulate, and in some cases apply, ethical theories. Ratiocination about ethics is the focus. I contend that in so far as one of the goals of ethical education is becoming more ethical, current pedagogical models leave much to be desired. This paper makes a case for teaching being ethical. I recommend developing the skill sets required for enacting ethical behavior. Problems with historical methods of testing ethical development are assessed, and methods for testing ethical behavior are considered. I explore fertile sites for research and practice regarding the intersection of moral education and moral behavior. In particular I focus on the role of emotion, active learning techniques, moral exemplars, and addressing the relevance of self-concept.
12. Teaching Ethics: Volume > 15 > Issue: 1
Alan Tomhave

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Should professors engage in classroom advocacy? One argument against such advocacy is the autonomy argument offered by Joel Kupperman. Advocacy, in the sense that Kupperman is concerned with, undermines a student’s making informed decisions about important issues. This paper seeks to do three things. First, it seeks to clarify Kupperman’s autonomy argument.Second, this paper extends the argument against advocacy by buttressing the autonomy argument with an argument from citizenship. This will strengthen Kupperman’s general rule against advocacy by expanding beyond concerns merely with individuals to cases where the concern is with groups, at least where the groups are composed of citizens.Last, while the autonomy argument provides a general prohibition against advocacy, it might permit exceptions, as does the citizenship argument. Thus, final part of this paper considers business ethics courses as a possible example for where exceptions might take place.
13. Teaching Ethics: Volume > 15 > Issue: 1
Stephen Rowe

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Ethics, as basic to liberal education, is often overly abstracted in philosophy departments, laboring under an unexamined assumption that ethics consists in construction and application of the one best theory. In professionally oriented programs it often becomes relativistic or merely procedural. Centered on the essentially ineffable quality of good or right action, this essay offers a suggestion as to the design and pedagogy of an interdisciplinary ethics course suited to the global age. Components include: consideration of the alternative positions on cases; ongoing inquiry into the nature of good action; examination of the philosophical perspectives (or “theories”) which inform positions people take in particular cases/situations; experience of dialogue/deliberation, as the practice through which we can cultivate ever expanded ethical awareness; and appreciative recognition of ethical maturity as it is articulated in the great traditions, for example, as practical wisdom (phronesis) or “action of non-action” (wu wei).
14. Teaching Ethics: Volume > 15 > Issue: 1
Kathleen Bailey, James David Ballard

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This paper describes what could be labeled “best practices” in teaching ethics to those entering the criminal justice, criminology and related professional fields. The underlying focus of the discussion is on the “self” and reflects the beliefs of the authors in the pedagogic thesis that ethics awareness begins with individual social actors and their existing world views. Thereafter, self awareness of ethical dilemmas and internal safeguards against unethical behavior are defined by those same individuals. Lastly, the process continues when the social actor gains an internalized, self-generated, accountability for one’s own actions. That self accountability may morph over time, depending on circumstances, but individual social actors remain effectively protected from unethical behavior as they master their own ethical challenges and live within their individualized sense of ethical purpose. To make these arguments the authors describe the background for an effective learning paradigm for the study of ethics that can be used in university level criminal justice courses, criminology classes, and police training sessions. This pedagogic approach is theoretically informed and used in classes designed to teach ethics to criminal justice professionals, criminology students who are entering a variety of professions.
15. Teaching Ethics: Volume > 15 > Issue: 1
Michael McGowan

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In this essay, I propose an update to a well-known pedagogical device many ethics professors utilize—the “Trolley Car” problem. I argue that by substituting older scenarios with ones from cutting edge and emerging technology the professor is better positioned to more fully engage today’s college students. Google’s self-driving car provides not only a fine substitution for the Trolley Car; it also acts as a mini-introduction to many of the other issues an introductory class on ethics will cover. Although it has typically been used to delineate consequentialist and anti-consequentialist moral reasoning, the Google car also can also be helpful to explore feminist ethical reasoning, planetary issues, the nature of justice, wealth distribution, and the limits of individual liberty.

16. Teaching Ethics: Volume > 15 > Issue: 1

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