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Ethics in school: a study of the foundation and methods for value communication
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Arts, Communication and Education, Education, Language, and Teaching.
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Arts, Communication and Education, Education, Language, and Teaching.
Södertörns Högskola.
2009 (English)Conference paper, Presentation (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This article is about a coming project concerning a coherentist approach to ethics in school. The project has two main parts; one theoretical and one empirical. The former focuses on philosophical problems and issues concerning coherentism as a metaethical position in general, and particularly when applied to the field of value education, and the latter aims to study some consequences of a coherentist approach to the study of discussing ethical matters with children.Metaethical coherentism is a position in the discussion about justification of moral judgements. According to coherentism, we build some kind of web in which different moral judgements are connected by some justification‐relation or the like. Some judgements might be more central than others, but these can be justified by the more particular and peripheral ones, and vice versa. Coherentism differs from foundationalism, according to which there are some foundational judgements that are not justified by any other judgements. The rest of our judgements are justified if they are justified by this foundation. We wish to study what benefits a coherentist approach might have in the study of ethical discussions in school. In Sweden, the educational system has as one of its main purposes to mediate a "value foundation" based on "Christian ethical tradition and western humanism" to the pupils. Suppose now that you have a foundationalist approach to ethical discussion in schools, as many seem to have had historically, and that some pupil expresses the judgement that some of his classmates have a lower value than him, due to the colour of their skin. This judgement conflicts with the judgement that the colour of ones skin does not have any bearing of ones value, included in the value foundation of the school. According to a foundationalist, we here have a conflict between foundational values, or so we can suppose. In this case, there is nothing obvious to do to resolve this conflict, because the foundational values cannot be justified; it is supposed that we simply realise the correctness of them by our moral intuition, or the like. A coherentist, on the other side, could point to how these two different judgements gain different amount of justification from other judgements, and thereby hopefully find consensus, and hence dissolve the conflict.Coherentism is not theoretically unproblematic, though. One problem is how to understand the justification‐relation. What does it mean that two propositions justify each other? Philosophers have discussed several different proposals. We give a new proposal, based on some of Arne Naess' theories. With regard to methods for ethical discussion in relation to a coherentistic approach, it seems as a "philosophy with children" approach will seem as a natural choice.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Humanities and religion - History and philosophy subjects
Keyword [sv]
Humaniora och religionsvetenskap - Historisk-filosofiska ämnen
Research subject
Education; Philosophy
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-34319Local ID: 87d789c0-9685-11de-8da0-000ea68e967bOAI: diva2:1007569
Thinking Aloud - Philosophy and democracy in schools : 27/02/2009 - 28/02/2009
Godkänd; 2009; 20090901 (vikvik)Available from: 2016-09-30 Created: 2016-09-30Bibliographically approved

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