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Title of Journal: Sci Eng Ethics

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Abbravation: Science and Engineering Ethics

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Springer Netherlands

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10.1002/jaal.335

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1471-5546

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Ethics Teaching in Higher Education for Principled Reasoning: A Gateway for Reconciling Scientific Practice with Ethical Deliberation

Authors: Mehmet Aközer, Emel Aközer,

Publish Date: 2016/08/26
Volume: 23, Issue:3, Pages: 825-860
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Abstract

This paper proposes laying the groundwork for principled moral reasoning as a seminal goal of ethics interventions in higher education, and on this basis, makes a case for educating future specialists and professionals with a foundation in philosophical ethics. Identification of such a seminal goal is warranted by (1) the progressive dissociation of scientific practice and ethical deliberation since the onset of a problematic relationship between science and ethics around the mid-19th century, and (2) the extensive mistrust of integrating ethics in science and engineering curricula beyond its “applied,” “practical,” or “professional” implications. Although calls by international scientific and educational bodies to strengthen ethics teaching in scientific education over the past quarter century have brought about a notion of combining competence in a certain field with competence in ethics, this is neither entrenched in the academic community, nor fleshed out as regards its core or instruments to realize it. The legitimate goals of ethics teaching in higher education, almost settled since the 1980s, can be subsumed under the proposed seminal goal, and the latter also would safeguard content and methods of ethics interventions against the intrusion of indoctrinative approaches. In this paper, derivation of the proposed seminal goal rests on an interpretation of the Kohlbergian cognitive-developmental conception of moral adulthood consisting in autonomous principled moral reasoning. This interpretation involves, based on Kant’s conception of the virtuous person, integrating questions about the “good life” into the domain of principled reasoning.We would like to thank to the two anonymous reviewers for their comments that encouraged us to elaborate further on several topics in the paper. Some of the ideas in this paper were first presented by the authors at the First International Higher Education Studies Conference (14–16 October 2015, Boğaziçi University, Istanbul).


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