I’ve been speaking today to the Centre for Ethics here in Missoula, at the University of Montana, about the purpose of teaching Ethics as an academic subject.
Some of the points we discussed were:
¢ In an ethics class we take students – and don’t in our classes in Higher Education –transmit an ethic.
¢ We school our students in the problems of identifying the good – but we refrain from dictating their conclusions.
¢ They come to us, they ponder the good –then we set them loose..
¢ What have we done?
¢ We ask that they understand, but not that they implement…
I asked whether we ought to see ourselves also as helping students develop their moral character? Unlike a more straight empirical discipline, the teaching of ethics may be an area where we wish to bring about in some sense a transformation of the student: should this be our goal?