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Teaching College Students How to Solve Real-Life Moral Dilemmas

An Ethical Compass for Quarterlifers


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 5. A Glossary of Ethics Terms for the Non-Specialist


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Think of this chapter as our humble attempt to translate some of the abstract language of ethics into usable everyday English. We present a glossary of selective technical terms that are basic to our Four Moral Languages. Note that we use the adjective humble in our opening sentence. We do this because we greatly respect the efforts of moral philosophers and applied ethicists through the centuries to construct a specialized ethics terminology. However, we have found in our teaching that a highly abstract, academic vocabulary is a turnoff to quarterlife students who are struggling valiantly to understand the important insights of ethics and to apply these to their everyday lives.

Our general approach in trying to bridge any type of theory-to-practice is to respect the specialized words of the disciplines at all times but, as important, to translate them whenever possible into useful down-to-earth “tools.” We do this, sometimes, by delving into the evolving etymologies of the original terms, which our students seem to enjoy. But we always try to re-phrase and, when necessary, to update excessively specialized language that tends to confound more than it does to clarify. Please understand that we are not trying to oversimplify the study of ethics. Instead, we are trying to enrich it by making its ideas comprehensible to a new generation of learners. ← 61 | 62 →

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