Advocating Values

Teaching Philosophy 20 (1):19-34 (1997)
Abstract
With reference to the “Campus Wars” debates, this paper argues that within the classroom, professional responsibilities justify professors advocating for personal commitments which are pertinent to their discipline. In fact, given a professor’s commitment to pursuing truth in the classroom, this advocacy is both inevitable and desirable. The question to ask, then, is what separates appropriate from inappropriate forms of influence on students. The author draws on the American Association of University Professors’ Statement of Professional Ethics to explore ethical tensions that professors face in the classroom and to motivate further discussion about these tensions as they pertain specifically to ethics teachers. After arguing that the chief tension an ethics professor must navigate is that which arises between the pursuit of truth and respect for student autonomy, the author moves to a consideration of various pedagogical strategies for negotiating this tension. Though each strategy discussed holds advantages and disadvantages, the author maintains that the question of appropriate advocacy is important and complex, and that it calls for further study
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