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Teaching College Students How to Solve Real-Life Moral Dilemmas

An Ethical Compass for Quarterlifers

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Robert J. Nash and Jennifer J.J. Jang

Teaching College Students How to Solve Real-Life Moral Dilemmas will speak to the sometimes confounding, real-life, moral challenges that quarterlife students actually face each and every day of their lives. It will spell out an original, all-inclusive approach to thinking about, and applying, ethical problem-solving that takes into consideration people’s acts, intentions, circumstances, principles, background beliefs, religio-spiritualities, consequences, virtues and vices, narratives, communities, and the relevant institutional and political structures. This approach doesn’t tell students exactly what to do as much as it evokes important information in order to help them think more deeply and expansively about ethical issues in order to resolve actual ethical dilemmas. There is no text like it on the market today. Teaching College Students How to Solve Real-Life Moral Dilemmas can be used in a variety of ethics courses.
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Chapter 1. Introduction: A Rationale for Teaching College Students How to Solve Real-Life Ethical Dilemmas in Their Personal and Professional Lives

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INTRODUCTION

A Rationale for Teaching College Students How to Solve Real-Life Ethical Dilemmas in Their Personal and Professional Lives

Quarterlife college students are more than ready to do some serious thinking about the world of ethics. We currently co-teach an elective course for quarterlife (as well as midlife and laterlife) graduate and undergraduate students called “Ethics of Helping Relationships” in a professional school at the University of Vermont. For many years, this course has been one of the most popular electives at the university. Robert created this course in the early 1970s, and it was the first applied ethics course ever offered in a college of education and social services in the United States. He has now taught this course more than one hundred times to thousands of students representing a variety of majors and professions. He also authored a book in 1995/2002 that has gone through several printings (and two editions) called “Real World” Ethics. Again, this was one of the first books of its kind for a professional school, and it has become a best seller throughout the country. Twenty years later, however, the book is to go out of print. Unfortunately, other than for a number of highly philosophical (theoretical) books on ethics written through the years, as well as a growing number of overly simplistic, “how-to” ethics primers for high school and some pre-professional college students, there are few, if any, intellectually rich—yet still accessible...

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