On the other hand, what these same people fear most is someone else’s moral perspective taught as the truth: conservatives afraid of liberals being in charge, liberals of conservatives, theists of non-theists, non-theists of theists.
Unfortunately, mere verbal agreement on general moral principles alone will not accomplish important moral ends nor change the world for the better.
Moral principles mean something only when manifested in behavior. Yet to put them into action requires some analysis and insight into the real character of everyday situations.
The world does not present itself to us in morally transparent terms.
The moral thing to do is often a matter of disagreement even among people of good will.
People, except in the most rare and exceptional cases, do have a strong tendency to confuse what they believe with the truth.
Ethics And Critical Thinking
It is always the others who do evil, who are deceived, self-interested, close-minded never us.
The world needs not more close-minded zealots, eager to remake the world in their image, but more morally committed rational persons with respect for and insight into the moral judgments and perspectives of others, those least likely to confuse pseudo with genuine morality. How can we cultivate morality and character in our students without indoctrinating them, without systematically rewarding them merely because they express our moral beliefs and espouse our moral perspective?
The answer is in putting critical thinking into the heart of the ethical curriculum, critical thinking for both teachers and students.
This is not an unreasonable demand, for, ethics aside, skill in the art of drawing important intellectual discriminations is crucial to education in any subject or domain, and proficiency in the art of teaching critically — encouraging students to question, think for themselves, develop rational standards of judgment — is the responsibility of all classroom teachers.
Any subject, after all, can be taught merely to indoctrinate students and so to inadvertently stultify rather than develop their ability to think within it.