I teach a standard Contemporary Moral Issues/Applied Ethics course once a year, usually in the Spring, in lecture format, usually with 80-100 students (but this year with 170). Normally about 70% of the students are seniors, and about 70% are business majors (it meets an ethics requirement in the business major). We discuss topics such as abortion, inequality in education, parental licensing, the gendered division of labor. I have added two new topics this year—sex on campus, and speech on campus. Each semester I get them to take a long survey which includes questions about what their beliefs are about the topics, prior to studying them in class. A few years ago I started getting them to take a survey at the end of the class, about their post-study beliefs, whether they have changed their minds, and whether they think they know what I believe.

I want to know whether they have changed their minds because I am curious about whether they have really done the thinking I want them to have done. Most are encountering, and having to consider seriously, intelligent arguments for the “other side” for the first time, so at least some of them should have their confidence somewhat shaken. I want to know whether they think they know my beliefs because I am a reasonably strict non-discloser, and want to know whether, in fact, I succeed in not disclosing. If they all believed they know what I think, and were right about what I think, that would indicate that I fail!
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Sunday photoblogging: the beach at Grau d’Agde

by Chris Bertram on April 28, 2019

Beach at Grau d'Agde