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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Stanford panel debates: Does teaching ethics do any good?

In an event sponsored by the McCoy Family Center for Ethics in Society, faculty from Stanford’s business school, law school and Philosophy Department say such courses equip students with the tools to engage with ethical problems.

Stanford Report
Originally posted May 13, 2014

Stanford University requires every undergraduate to take a class that deals with ethics. But can something as personal as ethics be taught in a classroom? Can classes in ethics make students more virtuous individuals? Or is that the wrong question to focus on?

These are the issues that a panel of Stanford scholars addressed in an event titled Does Teaching Ethics do any Good? It was sponsored by the McCoy Family Center for Ethics in Society as part of a series of talks marking its 25th anniversary.

Approaching the topic from diverse academic backgrounds, the Stanford professors who participated in the discussion agreed that ethics classes cannot be expected to make students more ethical. However, they articulated several other benefits, such as teaching students to fruitfully and confidently engage in ethical dialogue.

The entire article is here.

Editor's note: In podcast Episode 8, we discuss the counterintuitive fact that teaching ethics or ethics codes does not necessarily make a person more ethical.