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Heberto Peterson

Full time professor , CETYS Universidad, Colegio de Ciencias Sociales y Humanidades

TEDCRED 500+

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Is it important to teach ethics in graduate school?

We need to improve the way people in important and influence spaces in society make their decision taking process. One way is to continue giving ethics courses, but is these the best way? Should we start looking for another way to do it.

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    Apr 7 2012: I believe ethics instruction in graduate school is more important, and will be more accepted by students, than ever. 20 years ago ethics was a mostly laughable, 'had-to-take' course for future 'decision makers'. Now, it's not so funny anymore. It is evident that concern for the welfare of humanity and the evironment (not to mention recent corporate policy mandates) has become mainstream. Ethics instruction therefore is critical for well-rounded decision-making. But I also agree that 'ethics' instruction needs to evolve with its explanations of topics to a post-postmodern world. We needs ethics to be able to show significance in outcomes. 'Data' is the driving word today for decision-making. Ethics needs to demonstrate relevance towards the desired outcomes by its influence through data findings (i.e., this result was achieved due to this ethically based decision vs. this paralell issue result attained through this unethical decision, etc.). Also, ethics must be seen as demonstrable in real-world scenarios, not just a theoretical ideal. Our new world is demanding more ethical decisions from those who make them, they better study how to do it. But a few courses studied in college is probably not enough to influence sufficiently someone's decisions. To me, people make decisions based on desired results or outcomes. This leads to the incentives for those outcomes. If the only incentives are for ethical outcomes, the choice will be clear. If unethical outcomes are incentivized - like they are currently - the outcome is equally predictable. Society needs to change its level of acceptance of unethical outcomes and results for the best instruction of ethics possible, in my opinion.
    • Apr 7 2012: I concur. Good and trusting relationships are very valuable. Each of us can be honest with ourselves, deeply internally, and ask, 'How do I want to be treated, or want commercial organizations, or persons to relate to me?'

      Relate to other people in the same way we want to be treated. If greed is more important, if material gain and power are the highest driving forces for one's behavior, then ask why.

      Ethics addresses human behavior and relationships. There is greater potential for conflict, war, destruction of relationships when ethical behavior is devoid or muted.

      What are we living for if we cannot find kind and respectful ways for commerce and economy? What is the purpose for living if we trample on others?

      More could be said. So, what ideas are worth spreading regarding this topic?

      Peace,
      MK
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      Apr 7 2012: Tank's RH and Mark Kurtz for your comment's.
      I agree that one of the challenges that ethic professors have, is to make the use of ethics arguments useful in day to day decision making, as relevant as a cost analysis. Incentives and long term vision to promote these references that can and will make a better society.

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