Teaching Philosophy 21 (4):361-371 (1998)

While the subject matter and conclusions of scholarly meta-ethical debate are of great import, it is quite difficult to convey this material to students in applied ethics courses where the principal teaching goals are an introduction to pressing moral dilemmas and to the critical thinking skills needed to approach them. After a brief discussion of common obstacles to teaching applied ethics, this paper presents two strategies for teaching applied ethics which remain faithful to the complexities of meta-ethical theory. Under the “advocate approach,” the instructor argues for one particular moral theory and teaches rival theories and moral issues with reference to the preferred theory. This allows for specific moral responses to moral questions studied and satisfies student desire for concreteness of answers in a philosophy course. Under the “outfitter approach,” the instructor refrains from committing to one ethical theory and spends more time addressing advantages and drawbacks of each position, thereby showing the limited scope of many moral theories and communicating to students the risk of taking up a moral position too hastily. The author relates both approaches to meta-ethical concerns such as the possibility of moral truths and moral certainty, the relationship between competing moral systems, and the status of a moral theory
Keywords Teaching Philosophy
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ISBN(s) 0145-5788
DOI 10.5840/teachphil199821450
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Teaching Ethics and Technology with Agora, an Electronic Tool.Simone Burg & Ibo Poel - 2005 - Science and Engineering Ethics 11 (2):277-297.

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