Teaching Virtue: Pedagogical Implications of Moral Psychology [Book Review]

Science and Engineering Ethics 16 (3):611-628 (2010)
Abstract
Moral exemplar studies of computer and engineering professionals have led ethics teachers to expand their pedagogical aims beyond moral reasoning to include the skills of moral expertise. This paper frames this expanded moral curriculum in a psychologically informed virtue ethics. Moral psychology provides a description of character distributed across personality traits, integration of moral value into the self system, and moral skill sets. All of these elements play out on the stage of a social surround called a moral ecology. Expanding the practical and professional curriculum to cover the skills and competencies of moral expertise converts the classroom into a laboratory where students practice moral expertise under the guidance of their teachers. The good news is that this expanded pedagogical approach can be realized without revolutionizing existing methods of teaching ethics. What is required, instead, is a redeployment of existing pedagogical tools such as cases, professional codes, decision-making frameworks, and ethics tests. This essay begins with a summary of virtue ethics and informs this with recent research in moral psychology. After identifying pedagogical means for teaching ethics, it shows how these can be redeployed to meet a broader, skills based agenda. Finally, short module profiles offer concrete examples of the shape this redeployed pedagogical agenda would take in the practical and professional ethics classroom
Keywords Moral exemplars  Practical and professional ethics  Moral psychology  Virtue ethics
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