Values Education

1: Moral Education

1. Education in a Democratic Society and the Public Morality Principle

In the earlier section on Democracy and Politics, I noted that commitment to the ideal of treating all persons as ends, as the Ends Principle (EP) requires, implies a commitment to “doing what one can do to maintain [and hence to sustain and preserve] a moral sphere in which all persons can be treated with openness respect by all others.” And I argued that this commitment has important implications for politics in free and democratic societies because it implies a further principle of social ethics that I called the

Public Morality Principle: Society has a legitimate interest in protecting and encouraging attitudes, practices, institutions and social conditions that tend to sustain the moral sphere, and in discouraging attitudes, practices, institutions and conditions that would lead to its breakdown.

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2: Teaching Values and Ethics in the Modern Academy

(The following is adapted from a short piece I was asked to write a number of years ago for an alumni magazine of my university—The University of Texas at Austin—one of the largest and most diverse public universities in the USA. The piece expresses in a more personal way many of the themes about values, ethics and education described earlier in this website.)

1. Teaching Values in the Academy: A Personal Odyssey

How do you teach values in the modern secular university? That question has haunted me for years. I don’t mean merely teaching what individuals or cultures or societies or religions have said or believed about what is good or evil, right or wrong. We do that all the time in our uni­versities; it is one of the on-going tasks of the liberal arts, the humanities and the social scien­ces.

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