Tuesday, March 29, 2011

On Moral Discourse at the University

Harvery Cox was at the University of Oklahoma yesterday speaking about "The University as a Community for Moral Discourse." During his talk he described the process he used to try to break through any impasse that might arise between competing perspectives when students were discussing ethical issues in his classes at Harvard. In my own words, this is the gist of the process that he described:

Facts -- try to get people from opposing perspectives to agree on the basic facts of the issue under contention.

Logic -- examine the strength of the moral reasoning used by each perspective. Is the reasoning valid, fair and consistently applied in other circumstances or situations.

Loyalties -- discover how each perspective ranks their loyalties. What loyalty is given highest priority -- God, faith community, country, family, self, etc.?

Worldview -- try to get opposing perspectives to view the world and the issue from the perspective of the other.
Cox said this was a helpful process to increase mutual understanding but was not a panacea for resolving moral conflict.

Note: The cameras on i-phones do a fairly good job doing close-up photos. They leave a lot to be desired on photos from a distance.

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