The Ethics Project

Why Ethics?


Human beings cannot do anything outside of a social framework.

Social frameworks depend on shared values that meet high ethical standards.

If our shared values meet such standards, they allow us to trust one another, to accept leaders, and to maintain the fabric of a community.



What is practical ethics?


Practical ethics goes beyond taking basic rules or general principles for action and applying them to specific areas of human life.

Practical ethics concerns substantive moral issues that we are faced with in everyday life, such as climate change, end-of-life care decisions, and the right to privacy in the age of information. 

Research projects in practical ethics serve to address ethical issues raised by hospitals, businesses, schools, and local governments. 

Students of practical ethics study how we make ethical decisions, explore conditions under which we are most likely to go wrong, and how we can make good decisions under difficult conditions. Importantly, these students are assessing these ethical quandaries within specific kinds of situations: Pre-med students consider the moral dilemmas that they will face as doctors. Business students look at the temptations that business presents. Engineering students debate cost versus matters of safety and reliability.

Still, any student hoping to be a leader should think about how to inspire and to engender the trust, loyalty, and confidence that any of these fields require. To do so, not only must students be knowledgeable in their given fields, they must also be competent in practical ethics.