Moral Theories in Teaching Applied Ethics
Journal of Medical Ethics 2007 June; 33(6): 370-372
It is argued, in this paper, that moral theories should not be discussed extensively when teaching applied ethics. First, it is argued that, students are either presented with a large amount of information regarding the various subtle distinctions and the nuances of the theory and, as a result, the students simply fail to take it in or, alternatively, the students are presented with a simplified caricature of the theory, in which case the students may understand the information they are given, but what they have understood is of little or no value because it is merely a caricature of a theory. Second, there is a methodological problem with appealing to moral theories to solve particular issues in applied ethics. An analogy with science is appealed to. In physics there is a hope that we could discover a unified theory of everything. But this is, of course, a hugely ambitious project, and much harder than, for example, finding a theory of motion. If the physicist wants to understand motion, he should try to do so directly. We would think he was particularly misguided if he thought that, to answer this question, he first needed to construct a unified theory of everything.
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Benatar, D. (2007-11)In a recent paper, Rob Lawlor argues that moral theories should not be taught in courses on applied ethics. The author contends that Dr Lawlor's arguments overlook at least two important roles that some attention to ethical ...
Saunders, Ben (2010-10)Recent discussion has focused on whether or not to teach moral theories, and, if yes, to what extent. In this piece the author argues that the criticisms of teaching moral theories raised by Rob Lawlor should lead us to ...
Lawlor, R. (2008-11)D Benatar argues that in the author's recent article Moral theories in teaching applied ethics, the author overlooked important roles that could be played by moral theories in such teaching. In this reply, the cases that ...