Volume 17, Issue 4, December 1994
Can Virtue Be Bought? Moral Education and the Commodification of Values
The author examines fundamental problems involved in teaching applied ethics in the educational environment of contemporary university culture. American universities are increasingly turning away from liberal arts education and focusing their efforts on constructing more professionalized degrees and programs. As a result, the education process has become increasingly commodified and ethics courses in universities have been further removed from the liberal arts project of moral development in the classroom. The author argues that ethicists should work to reframe the project of moral education if they hope to retain a central role in the process of teaching ethics. The author suggests a growth model to be installed in the undergraduate curriculum that would reacquaint students with the aims and benefits of learning ethical and moral philosophy.