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Can Ethics be "Taught"

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by RightHand, Mar 21, 2007.

  1. RightHand

    RightHand Pioneer in a New World Moderator Founding Member

    A local college, Albertus Magnus, has a new advertising slogan - "ethics based learning". I'm curious what they mean. In a perfect world, all learning and teaching would be ethics based. Those TV ads made me consider the question "can ethics be taught?" My feeling is that, in college, the theory of ethics is common; most of us probably took a philosophy coarse in "Ethics" but living an ethical life begins at the knees of one's parents.

    Anyone have an opinion - can ethics be taught after age 18 or so?

    Maybe it's time for me to go back and reread Plato's Republic. I"ll put that on my to do list of things I want to do when I retire....ha ha ha
  2. kckndrgn

    kckndrgn Moderator Moderator Founding Member

    My gut response is that, yes, ethics can be taught at any age. Everyday I learn something new, and I'm way past 18 ;) Now, after 18, and even before that, there has to be the willingness to learn ethics. Ethics SHOULD be instilled in children from their mother & father, instead many parents rely on the school system for everything, which is the problem.
    How many people have learned something from their peers? Well guess where little Billy is going to learn his ethics, from his friends, if the parents don't do it first.
  3. FalconDance

    FalconDance Neighborhood Witch

    We're talking Ethics here, the legitimate sister of Morals and Charity, right?

    Rather a sad commentary on society if something which should be a basic part of growing up is now being offered as a college course, isn't it? But that's not what you said. The college is offering "ethics-based learning", which at least theoretically, means the courses are without the usual greed-is-good / everyone-not-a-CEO-is-a-peon instruction. It would mean that class material is taught freely and truthfully without the extreme bias and censorship of the "winning side" or the government (i.e. the facts are the facts, regardless of whether it's convenient, comfortable or promotes the current aghenda).

    All in all, this college employs a tantalizing bit of PR carrot to dangle in front of a society tired of corporate and governmental un-ethical behaviour. Nothing more than propaganda. Shame, too. Unless they are 100% privately funded, their funds will dry up fast. And even if the funding is private, their "ethical learning" will depend on who's footing the bill.

    Ethics, like charity, should begin at home. It needs to be reinforced and promoted every day. I'm cynical - I just don't see much in the way of ethical behaviour at anything beyond the local level except for everyday folks (maybe) trying to make ends meet day-to-day the best they can without sinking to deceipt and despair. And even then, sometimes there's a fine line between Right and Not-Hungry.

  4. RightHand

    RightHand Pioneer in a New World Moderator Founding Member

    Albertus Magnus is a private Catholic college and they offer an excellent graduate program. I don't know if they receive any public funding but that's an interesting question. I, too, thought of the PR angle but I hope that your thoughts on it's meaning are correct. That would be a welcomed change in contemporary education. I think I'll give them a call and see if I can figure this out.
  5. Seacowboys

    Seacowboys Senior Member Founding Member

    I do not know if ethics can be taught but they definately can be learned at any age. Speaking entirely from personal experience, I was not what you would catagorize as a nice person for well over half of my life. To revert to an earlier thread, I am not offering any excuses for it; it is what it was. I have done many deeds for which there is no restitution for and the scars will always remain. Later in life, I was blessed with a soul-saving good fortune and it has been my task since, to become as good a man as I can. Life now has a quality that I could never have imagined existed. My personal ethics do not alway correspond with those of society in general but are specific to my own needs and those of my family and friends. Everyone is familiar with the adage that trust must be earned but few actually realize that the first person you have to earn it from is yourself.
  6. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    "Ethics based?" Sounds to me as tho' there will be some tampering with the facts to support whatever current PC requires. After all, PC is being sold as "ethical", even if not necessarily factual.[dunno]
  7. Tracy

    Tracy Insatiably Curious Moderator Founding Member

    I'd like to think that the answer to your question is "yes", but after having a heated debate last week with a college student about work-ethics, I'm afraid that his adamant stance leads me to believe otherwise. Granted, he is one of many, and I refuse to lose hope based on my conversation with him.

    Interestingly; I know his family, who are (collectively) a hard-working bunch. He (apparently) learned nothing from their example and is the sloth in the bee hive.

    I think that the lack of (moral) ethics has a lot to do with what is considered "entertainment" and the television having been used as a babysitter for too many throughout their youth.

    Junk in; junk out.
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