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Resources for Teaching Inter-Disciplinary Ethics


An Introduction to Ethical Thinking

Authored by Dr Nafsika Athanassoulis, this teaching resource introduces students to ethical thinking and is suitable for students in any academic discipline who may not have been taught any ethics before. It can be used either by tutors who are new to teaching ethics, or those who have more experience but want some further ideas and inspiration. 

This is a flexible and customisable resource, which can be tailored to suit the needs of your discipline and provides all the support materials required. Tutors can pick just one or two sessions and include them as part of another module, or choose to run all ten as a module in its own right. 

Each session comes with easy-to-use Tutor Notes, which suggest a variety of possible teaching methods and include suggestions for specific disciplines (for example, Business, Life Sciences, Engineering, Journalism etc.), further readings and assessment exercises.

This is a substantial package with much to digest and reflect upon. To give you an opportunity to see what's on offer before you register, we have made the first chapter available for download. You may also wish to find out more about our resources database

Below you can find brief introductions to the ten sessions that make up this package.

Seminar 1: What is Ethics? and Why is it relevant to my discipline?

Seminar 2: Why be Moral?

Seminar 3: Morality, the Law, Custom and Religion

Seminar 4: Other People's Views, Relativism and Tolerance

Seminar 5: Understanding Concepts I

Seminar 6: Understanding Concepts II

Seminar 7: Consistency in Arguments

Seminar 8: Fallacious Arguments

Seminar 9: Virtues in the Professions I

Seminar 10: Virtues in the Professions II

 

Seminar 1: What is Ethics? and Why is it relevant to my discipline?

This session will attempt explain what ethics is and what kinds of questions and issues are relevant to ethics. Also it will consider why ethics is relevant to the professions and why it is part of professional education.

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Seminar 2: Why be Moral?

Following on from the previous session we will now consider a more personal question: why should I be moral? If you could behave unethically and get away with it would you do it? What would happen if everyone was immoral?

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Seminar 3: Morality, the Law, Custom and Religion

This session will consider the differences between morality, the law, custom and etiquette, and religion. Can there be an immoral law? Should all morality be reflected in the law? What is the difference between a moral rule and a rule of convention? What is the relationship between morality and religion?

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Seminar 4: Other People's Views, Relativism and Tolerance

People's views on ethics seem to vary widely and are often the subject of great controversy. Why is that, and how should we respond to these differences? We will consider the possibility that all morality is relative to individuals and societies but also ask what is the value of tolerance and how a liberal society can respond to multi-cultural values.

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Seminar 5: Understanding Concepts I

Having considered some broad topics about ethics in general, we will now look at more detail into ethical arguments and how they work. If we are to discuss anything we must make sure we are all talking about the same thing. This session will look at the importance of defining concepts and dealing with ambiguous or contentious concepts. 

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Seminar 6: Understanding Concepts II

Following on from the previous week this session will consider further concepts and how our understanding of significant terms can sometimes lie at the heart of major ethical disagreements.

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Seminar 7: Consistency in Arguments

We all hold a number of different beliefs, some of which we have really thought through, others which are un-reflective. Are all our beliefs consistent? Why is there a problem with holding inconsistent beliefs? How should we respond to having inconsistent beliefs?

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Seminar 8: Fallacious Arguments

Following on from the previous session, some arguments don't work very well. Why is that? What are the common reasoning mistakes people make and how can we avoid them? 

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Seminar 9: Virtues in the Professions I

This session will examine some central ethical issues that will be of relevance to a variety of disciplines. They include our perceptions of risk and how we should make risk assessment calculations, a moral assessment of whistle blowers and an exercise looking at different virtues and their role in your life.

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Seminar 10: Virtues in the Professions II

What is distinctive about the professions that sets them apart from other occupations? Do all professionals share certain virtues, certain ways of behaving towards their clients, employers and society? What are the moral obligations of professionals and are they distinct from those of other people? Is there a role for ethics in professional codes of conduct?

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