The general focus of our work is, in general, the approach proposed Dewey-Tufts teaching of ethics, clear approach and briefly defined in the preface to his book Ethics, in the edition of 1932 is not so much to give lessons in morality, in the sense of offering answers to moral problems, the people providing the cognitive and affective instruments (know how) and moral knowledge available on the issues addressed (know why), so as to tackle and resolve most likely to hit the moral problems they might face.
Our work is based on four findings:
1 | Human beings are facing many problems
Almost everyone can have a moral dimension and some are specifically moral. These:
- They assume that human beings have a margin of freedom when we act, what makes us personal responsibility for what we do.
- They are closely linked to the concept of “duty”: what to do so that our behavior can be defined as morally good.
- They are also associated with a search of happiness, understood as achieving a fulfilling life endowed with meaning.
- Involve answer basic questions: What kind of person I want to become? What kind of world I would want to live?
2 | The moral problems generally result from:
- The existence of a conflict of values: do something implies respecting moral values and violate other and you can not keep both.
- The most common conflicts occur between private interests (or defined groups of individuals) and common or general interests of society. They are specified in the opposition between egoism and altruism, corporatism, lobbying, etc.
- The awareness that in many cases it is not easy to do what we know or what we think we do.
- The difficulty of finding appropriate means to achieve the ends sought, given the end never justifies the means, and there are all means that are incompatible with the intended purpose.
- The presence of different objectives, without being clear about the relative importance of each of them and which should be given special preference.
3 | Adequate troubleshooting requires the development of a set of cognitive and affective skills
- Cognitive skills, such as conceptual rigor (clearly define the problem and identify the moral values at stake), hypothetical syllogism (if I do this, then …), analogical reasoning (applying to a case that we find solutions in similar cases), relationships ends and means, moral imagination (alternative solutions). They are fundamental to resolve any issues, including moral.
- Affective skills such as empathy (being able to put yourself in the situation of the other), courage or strength I (being able to carry out their own convictions, especially when they oppose what is dominant in a context), compassion (moved by evils or injustices suffered by people), friendliness (or be willing to help lend a hand), guilt and shame (when consciously and freely do what we should not do), admiration (referring to people or exemplary behavior).
4 | An assessment of the moral wisdom proves true for humanity in its 100,000 years of history
Not just with certain instruments or skills, it is necessary to be familiar with the answers that mankind has been giving throughout its history, verifying that have rooted and enjoyed social acceptance precisely because it showed effective troubleshooting . Added to this is the need to be informed about the relevant aspects of the situations where problems arise.