Teaching Ethics Without Confusing Questions

Illustrated by the Example of Schopenhauer's Ethics

Authors

  • Matthias Holweger Robert-Bosch-Gymnasium Wendlingen

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.46586/JDPh.2023.10811

Keywords:

Teaching Ethics, Moral Worth, Moral Motivation, Rightness, Schopenhauer's Ethics, Confusion

Abstract

Like many other philosophical disciplines, ethics is sometimes highly abstract. And many key notions of the discipline are vague, ambiguous or both. Abstractness, vagueness, and ambiguity invite confusion. My objective in this paper is to draw attention to a serious problem that, despite being widespread, has so far remained largely unrecognized: the confusion of different questions in teaching ethics. This confusion occurs, for example, when a philosopher’s viewpoint is presented as an answer to one question, but in fact, the philosopher is addressing a different question with that viewpoint. In the first part of this paper, I will present and clarify several ethical questions that are often confused, and point out damaging consequences that the confusion of such questions entails. In the second part, I will demonstrate the confusion of ethical questions by drawing attention to cases of confused teaching of Schopenhauer’s ethics. Finally, for those interested, I outline how Schopenhauer’s ethics could be taught without confusion.

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Published

2023-11-29

Issue

Section

Articles