Monash Bioethics Review 27 (1-2):42 (2008)

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Abstract
A connection has long been made between music and moral education. Recent discussions have focused on concerns that certain lyrics can lead to acceptance of violence, suicide, inappropriate views of women, and other unethical behaviour. Debate over whether such connections exist at least illustrates that popular songs engage listeners with ethical issues; this arises from the unique blend of emotional and cognitive reactions to music. And while the emotional side of ethics has received less attention than other aspects of ethics, it is important and music can be a powerful and unique tool to introduce the emotional aspects of ethics. Music appeals to almost everyone. Throughout history songs have rallied people to action and drawn people into deeper reflection. Music engages our emotions, our imagination and our intellect. Students already spend many hours listening to songs, some of which address ethical issues; it is thus an ideal pedagogic aid in teaching subjects like ethics. This article will discuss how carefully selected songs can encourage thoughtful reflection and critical thinking about ethical issues: a number of specific examples will be described, along with a discussion of the general practicalities of using popular songs in teaching ethics and a demonstration of how students learn to listen critically and actively reflect on the ethical messages they receive. The enjoyment of music helps to engage students with ethics and its relevance for their lives and careers. This article aims to share some of the excitement and enthusiasm that popular songs have brought to my teaching of ethics.
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DOI 10.1007/bf03351295
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