Studying Ethical Values

778 Words 4 Pages
If I were teaching a course on ethics I would have a few goals. The first would be to teach my students how to use their ability to think critically. I would start with critical thinking because I do not believe that any of us can begin to understand existing ethical theories or really examine our existing ethical values without the ability to think critically about them. We need to be able to use reason, rather than emotion when studying ethics and without the knowledge of critical thinking that is very difficult to do. Unfortunately, critical thinking is not something that most of us have been taught and have no idea of where to begin. It is also not something that is easily mastered, but having at least some idea of how to think critically …show more content…
This is a difficult step for a few reasons, but the biggest is that we have to examine ethical values that we have since childhood and ethical values that were instilled through our religious beliefs. Many of our moral values, like our beliefs, were taught to us by the adults in our lives and become an important part of who we are. This can happen even when those ethical values really do not match up with who we are or the way that we want to live our lives. Trying to examine those values without allowing our emotions to get in the way is not easy. It is also not easy to look closely at our moral values that are related to our religion. If we find that a moral value that we have tried to follow because it was important to our parents or because it is part of our religion does not really fit our own moral compass it can be very difficult to discard it. It can cause a bit of an identity crisis and it may even cause a crisis of faith. We may also feel guilty, because we feel we are betraying our family or our religion by not holding on to their ethical beliefs. When examining my own ethical values, I found that many of them were based on the authoritarian moral theory and the divine command theory. It is a little disconcerting to realize that I have lived my life based on ethical values that I had never closely …show more content…
Trying to create an actual ethical system for ourselves might be the hardest thing to learn to do. We have to find a place to start, which is not always easy to do. We also have to remember that we are not going to create a system for ourselves overnight. I believe most of us will find that there are some ethical values that are more important to us than others and that we have good reasons for having those values. While a few values are not a system, they may give us a foundation to work with or at least a starting point. Some of us may find our ethical system in religion. Hopefully those of us that do will fully examine the ethical values that the religion teaches, rather than blindly follow them. Some of us may find the foundation of our ethical system in a philosophy that contains ethical theories that come close to how we believe that we should live and

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