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articles

1. Teaching Ethics: Volume > 22 > Issue: 1
Elisa Warford

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In an engineering writing course whose theme is climate change and engineering, I foreground climate change as an ethical problem. At the end of the semester, I ask students to compare their attitudes toward climate change from when they began the course to their attitudes at the end. Some report that, as a result of knowing more about the difficulty and scale of the problem, they have become more pessimistic about our ability to solve it. Climate change despair has been studied from several disciplinary perspectives. Here, I approach the issue from an ethical perspective. My question is, how should I address students’ affective responses to climate change? After providing background on the course and the students’ attitudes, I review the literature on the ethics of climate change despair, hope, and false hope. I then argue for a pedagogy that guides students toward a critical hope and engineering praxis.
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2. Teaching Ethics: Volume > 22 > Issue: 1
Shelbi Nahwilet Meissner

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3. Teaching Ethics: Volume > 22 > Issue: 1
Evan Dutmer

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Many introductory courses in ethics stress competence in ethical theories popular in modern Western, Anglophone philosophy. This is limiting to ethics students in two ways: 1) it privileges theory over practice in the area of philosophy that has the most intuitive practical importance and application and 2) it privileges modern Western ethical theory at the expense of philosophical and practical engagement with all other world ethical systems. This essay seeks to provide a pedagogical corrective for both of these trends in the context of a virtue ethics course in offering 1) a blueprint for a course in practiced virtue ethics at the high school level based on my version of a required course, “Ethics and the Cultivation of Character” in the Leadership Education Department at Culver Academies (where I am one of the Ethics instructors) that 2) draws on a theoretical apparatus for virtue ethics derived from both Western and non-Western world philosophies.
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4. Teaching Ethics: Volume > 22 > Issue: 1
Victoria DePalma

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This paper discusses the value in implementing photography as a means of assessment in philosophy courses. I specifically discuss how I utilize this interdisciplinary method in my honors environmental philosophy course with encouraging results, and how it can be easily employed in other philosophy courses as well. Photography is the basis for one of my larger course projects, the environmental philosophy in photo project (EPPP). The EPPP offers students novel methods of applying and understanding environmental ethical theories and new ways of making meaning. In the following, I offer a defense of photographic methods for philosophical assessments, project instructions, student learning objectives and feedback, overall effectiveness of the project, and potential uses of photographic methods in other philosophy courses.
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5. Teaching Ethics: Volume > 22 > Issue: 1
Benjamin V. Hole, Majestik De Luz

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Many students feel despair when addressing systemic issues of ethical significance, such as climate change, and student despair has been exacerbated by the circumstances of the Covid-19 pandemic. This creates an unwelcoming space for authentic student engagement. To address the problem, we present an imaginary of radical hope, a pedagogical tool informed by trauma, for developing a brave space for class discussion. It is psychologically beneficial to acknowledge negative emotions, clearing the emotional space for students to engage. Therefore, we frame ethics courses with an uncomfortable discussion, asking students to draw from their positionality and share their feelings of hope and despair, related to course material. In this paper, we explain the problem of despair motivating the project, describe the pedagogical and ethical support of our strategy, share the assignment, activity, and examples, and discuss takeaways.
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6. Teaching Ethics: Volume > 22 > Issue: 1
Andrea R. Gammon, Lavinia Marin

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As attention to the pervasiveness and severity of environmental challenges grows, technical universities are responding to the need to include environmental topics in engineering curricula and to equip engineering students, without training in ethics, to understand and respond to the complex social and normative demands of these issues. But as compared to other areas of engineering ethics education, environmental ethics has received very little attention. This article aims to address this lack and raises the question: How should we teach environmental ethics to engineering students? We argue that one key aspect such teaching should address is the tendency of engineers towards technical framing of (social) problems. Drawing then on engineering ethics pedagogy we propose that the competencies of moral sensitivity and critical thinking can be developed to help engineering students with problem (re)framing. We conclude with an example from our teaching that operationalizes these competencies.
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7. Teaching Ethics: Volume > 22 > Issue: 1
Senem Saner, Jessica Manzo

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Using picture books to prompt philosophical conversations with children is an effective means to raise awareness of environmental issues and invite children to think creatively about their responsibility for their community and environment. In our Philosophy for Children (P4C) program at Kern County Public libraries in Bakersfield, we address environmental ethics issues as part of our regular curriculum as well as for Earth Day conversations. Children discuss how they may reuse and recycle objects that they ordinarily discard, how small acts of care may have big consequences for their community, and how they share reciprocal relationships to other living creatures, even insects. Most importantly, during such conversations children reflect and deliberate on how they can act on their insights to expand their moral imagination and empower them as citizens of their community and the world.
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8. Teaching Ethics: Volume > 22 > Issue: 1
Christian Early

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9. Teaching Ethics: Volume > 22 > Issue: 1
Lena Johansson Westholm, Orcid-ID Niclas Månsson Orcid-ID

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In respect to the increased number of cases of research misconduct in Sweden, especially the Macchiarini case, a new national ethics legislation has been adopted. Following the previous and new legal acts and the Higher Ordinance for studies, Swedish universities have established qualitative measures to make sure that PhD students have knowledge about research ethics when graduating, for instance through offering third-cycle courses in research ethics. In this article, we describe how a Swedish university has been working with such a course to promote good research practice and ethical integrity to the researchers of tomorrow. We are doing this by describing the course structure and content, its outcome in relation to the legislation concerning misconduct in research and ethics within research, as a conscious reflection on research and its consequences. The results indicate that the course is in alignment with other scientists and/or rules and regulations.
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book review

10. Teaching Ethics: Volume > 22 > Issue: 1
Jack R. Leff

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articles

11. Teaching Ethics: Volume > 21 > Issue: 2
Christopher Meyers

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12. Teaching Ethics: Volume > 21 > Issue: 2
Michael S. Pritchard, Sandra L. Borden

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Western Michigan University’s Center for the Study of Ethics in Society has always had a “generalist” approach—that is to say, an interdisciplinary orientation toward studying a broad range of ethical issues. This article explains how the center’s “generalist” orientation developed and why it is desirable for promoting public reflection about ethical issues. It focuses on these dimensions: (a) valuing an across-the-curriculum approach to promote understanding of complex ethical issues; (b) adopting a broad, rather than narrow focus, when it comes to ethics; (c) committing to practical ethics, which bridges theory and practice to shed light on issues of practical relevance to all; and (d) decentering philosophy as the arbiter for what counts as “doing ethics.” The article ends with a look at challenges concerning stable funding and administrative support for a center that does not fit neatly into a single academic unit or specialty and shares some lessons learned.
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13. Teaching Ethics: Volume > 21 > Issue: 2
Cordula Brand, Thomas Potthast

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The goal of this article is to offer a three-step approach for a systematic discussion on the procedures, roles, and responsibilities of ethics centers. First, we identify three levels of responsibility: scientific, organizational/institutional, societal/global. Second, we propose that justice (as outlined in the concept of Sustainable Development), contextual pluralism, and a process orientation serve as normative foundations for developing ethics centers’ mission. Third, we outline and emphasize the crucial role that teaching plays in the work of ethics centers, as well as in other academic (and non-academic) institutions. As an overarching perspective, we suggest two complementary kinds of approaches for the role of ethics especially in scientific research: i) ethics becoming a constitutional part of any research (and teaching) project. ii) specific in-depth interdisciplinary projects with ethics being the research (and teaching) topic.
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14. Teaching Ethics: Volume > 21 > Issue: 2
Joseph Spino

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When evaluating the success of an ethics center, one can look to the center’s level of engagement and achievement with affiliated institutions and communities. Such criteria are appropriate. What can be overlooked, however, is the internal structure and processes that help constitute the ethics center itself. In short, it is not merely the results an ethics center may claim that should be of interest for evaluating institutional health and longevity, but the very character of the organization itself. Using criteria offered in support of corporate agency and character, I argue that ethics centers can possess organizational agency and a “character” of their own. While not the same sense of character we associate with human beings, the “character” (and “virtue”) I describe is still a meaningful and identifiable feature that can and ought to be developed within the structure of ethics centers.
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15. Teaching Ethics: Volume > 21 > Issue: 2
Aine Donovan

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This article provides guidance and rationales for managing transitions within ethics centers as directors and staff are hired. The structures that reinforce the mission and ensures that the center continues to provide benefit to the community requires delicate strategizing among campus and community constituencies. The principles and practices that serve as a best-practices management approach are articulated within this article.
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16. Teaching Ethics: Volume > 21 > Issue: 2
Donna Riley, Justin Hess, Brent Jesiek

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In this article we reflect on ethical issues arising amid our efforts over the past four years to set up a university-level engineering ethics center to facilitate faculty, staff, and student collaborations across disciplines. In this account we place considerable emphasis on relations with campus administration, including conflicts arising over the interests of potential donors and research sponsors; state and national political contexts; turf (specifically the balance of ownership over vision-setting and action between faculty and administrators); and the scope and role of ethics in a STEM-focused public land grant university. We also discuss challenges we faced in communication, both across disciplines in a large university setting, and with administrators inclined to conflate professional ethics with other topics such as technology ethics or public policy concerns. We share discussions we have had among ourselves around what types of alternative structures might facilitate our mission; and how such alternatives might help us resist replication of the kinds of problematic power dynamics we are already witnessing and navigating. It is our hope that our participation in this conversation provides an opportunity for us to learn from others, share what we have learned thus far, and come to a position of greater clarity regarding our intentions and priorities. Most of all we seek moral imagination to identify creative paths forward for a broad set of stakeholders to more deeply encounter professional ethics in discovery, learning, and engagement.
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17. Teaching Ethics: Volume > 21 > Issue: 2
Nate Olson, Kallee McCullough

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During the COVID-19 pandemic, ethics centers were forced to reimagine program delivery. In a tumultuous time with rampant social isolation, the need for ethics education and dialogue was also critical. The authors, members of the directorship team of the Kegley Institute of Ethics (KIE), discuss how KIE met these challenges through organizing over fifty online events during the pandemic, including webinars, pedagogy workshops, ethics bowls, intercollegiate student conversations, colloquia, film viewings, and podcasts. The article describes both the opportunities and challenges that different types of virtual events present and argues that innovation in online programming can help ethics centers show ethical leadership in their communities. As one example, we discuss how online events can both enhance and hinder accessibility for participants. We also describe how online programming presents both barriers and opportunities for community building and can prompt ethics centers to reflect on their identities and missions.
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18. Teaching Ethics: Volume > 21 > Issue: 2
Jonathan Beever

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In this essay I propose that ethics centers should take leadership roles in clarifying uses of normatively thick and complex concepts. Using the concept of integrity as an example, I build a case for increased focus on thick concepts at work in ethics. Integrity is a special case, given its conceptual complexity and the diversity of contexts in which it is utilized. I argue that failure to focus on conceptual clarification leaves the door open to misuse or manipulation of ethical concepts and to contextual siloing, each of which limits the work that ethics and ethics centers can do in support of institutional cultures. Ethics centers stand, or—as I make clear—should stand, as conceptual stewards for articulation of the importance of such concepts in balancing external ethics visibility and personal ethics engagement.
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19. Teaching Ethics: Volume > 21 > Issue: 2
Lisa S. Parker

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Individual and institutional conflicts of interest arise with increasing frequency and negative sequelae as universities and their principals, as well as individual faculty members, engage in research (and other activities) with support from profit/not-for-profit entities. This essay examines how institutional and individual conflicts of interest (COI) arise for ethics centers and their faculty/staff, respectively. It defines COI, endorses a reasonable person standard for determining when COI exist, and considers problems that arise when disclosure of COI is embraced as a remedy for them. It argues that transparency and disclosure are generally inadequate measures to address COI, especially those of ethics centers. It concludes by sketching other measures that may be ingredients in attempts to avoid, manage, or mitigate the COI of ethics centers and their faculty/staff.
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20. Teaching Ethics: Volume > 21 > Issue: 2
Michael Burroughs

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Social injustice and calls to activism take many forms, whether in environmental, medical, legal, political, or educational realms. In this article, I consider the role of activism in ethics institute initiatives. First, as a case study, I discuss an activist initiative for police reform led, in part, by the Kegley Institute of Ethics at California State University, Bakersfield. Specifically, I outline the formation of the Bakersfield Police Department—Community Collaborative (BPD-CC), created to review regional and national police policy and training recommendations and to solicit and formalize community-sourced recommendations for policing reform and building trust and greater partnership between the BPD and community. Second, I discuss outcomes and implications of this project and consider its significance for understanding activist roles available to the community engaged ethics institute more generally. In this discussion, I explore practical dimensions and ethical implications of activist approaches in the work of an ethics institute.
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