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Teaching Ethics


published on April 16, 2021

Chong Un Choe-Smith

Service Learning in Philosophical Ethics

Ethics training is becoming increasingly common in pre-professional contexts to address ethical misconduct in business, medicine, science, and other disciplines. These courses are often taught by philosophers. The question is whether such ethics training, which involves philosophical reflection, is effective in cultivating ethical behavior. This paper takes a closer look at the goals of teaching ethics and how our current methods are ineffective in achieving the affective and active goals of teaching ethics. This paper then suggests how experiential learning and, specifically, service learning may be one way forward in achieving these goals. While some pre-professional programs have implemented service learning, the ethics courses offered by philosophers also may be improved by giving students more opportunities to engage their communities through service learning.

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