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ERIC Number: EJ1166263
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2018-Jan
Pages: 17
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1368-4868
Learning for Oneself: A Confucian-Inspired Case for Moral Formation in Ethics Pedagogy
Duperon, Matthew
Teaching Theology & Religion, v21 n1 p4-20 Jan 2018
This article explores the disconnection between ethical theory and ethical practice in ethics courses at secular U.S. colleges and universities. In such contexts academic ethics focuses almost exclusively on "ethical reasoning" and leaves the business of practical moral formation of students in the realm of "student life." I argue this disconnection is inevitable given the dominant understanding that moral formation must be guided by a consistent ethical theory, and must eventuate in certain prosocial behaviors, while norms of pluralism and free inquiry mandate that academic courses not attempt to dictate certain views or behaviors as normative. Drawing on the Confucian model of moral cultivation expressed by the early Chinese figure Mengzi, I argue for a different understanding of moral formation that focuses on open-endedness, self-direction, and the acquisition of skills in directing attention and will. This approach avoids the most serious challenges to practical moral formation in secular contexts, and I suggest some broadly applicable principles for implementing these ideas in ethics courses.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A