Volume 17, Issue 2, Fall 2017
Teaching Common Morality
Using Bernard Gert’s Account of the Moral System in the Classroom
Bernard Gert’s account of morality is straightforward, clear and, in its essentials, easily grasped. As such, it offers rich pedagogical resources for teaching morality, not just in undergraduate courses but also in pre-college philosophy classes or workshops, including those offered during the elementary school years. Gert’s account, properly calibrated to the age group in question, can provide a unified framework for students to think about morality, clarify their understanding of it, and engage in discussions with each other about it. After summarizing Gert’s account, I illustrate several ways in which it can be applied in the classroom, beginning with applications at the elementary school level and working up to pedagogy appropriate to high school and college. I conclude by considering and responding to some possible objections to this approach.