What’s Science Got to Do With It?

One of the last things I read online, yesterday evening, was a new column in The New York Times online, under the irresistible title, “Where Does Moral Courage Come From?

(The Times has been an unusually rich source for ethical inquiry and reflection, and not only because of the news reported in its pages.)

The author, David Bornstein, relates a number of moving stories of people standing up in the face of injustice, regardless of consequences to themselves.

In second paragraph, though, is a single sentence that, to me, seemed out of place. Continue reading “What’s Science Got to Do With It?”

What I’d Like My Students to Learn

I’m just past the end of Fall term, refining my plans for Spring.

I have, for the past few years, been teaching ethics through an approach called problem-based learning (PBL): students work in groups to sort through complex, concrete problem situations, in response to which I ask them to develop and consider the ethical implications of several distinct options.

I am in the throes of revising the design of my courses, moving toward what I can’t help but call PBL 2.0.

One of the things that turned me away from more conventional ways of teaching was the realization that, although I’ve long recognized that I am not training students for careers in academic philosophy, my course materials, lectures, and written assignments still bore the vestiges of such a training program.

The first thing I had to do, then, was to throw out my old list of learning outcomes for the course, and to develop a new list focused on the development of particular cognitive skills related to moral imagination. Continue reading “What I’d Like My Students to Learn”