Applied Ethics: Dealing Successfully with Ethical Challenges

Applied Ethics

“You can run, but you can’t hide.” What boxer Joe Louis is reported to have said about his ring opponents could also be said about you and ethical challenges.  You can run from them, but you can’t hide from them.  They will confront you in your personal life and in your professional life. Indeed, in all likelihood, they already have.

Course Details

January 10 – March 13
Monday 3:30 – 5:30 PM

Why Take This Course?

This is a course in applied ethics or practical ethics, one that does not fall into one of the traditional academic disciplines, but rather should appeal to students with various academic majors.  It will help prepare you to deal more successfully with some of the kinds of ethical challenges you might face in your career.  It will do so by using case studies of real people who have been confronted with ethical challenges, and by introducing you to various concepts and frameworks for moral reasoning and ethical decision-making.

Applying the concepts and frameworks to the case studies should help you build your own tool kit for moral reasoning and ethical decision-making.  Such a tool kit should enable you to manage more effectively some of the kinds of ethical challenges you will likely face in your career. We will be analyzing various actors in the case studies, but in the end, this course is not about them, it’s about you.

There are no prerequisites for this course, which is open only to seniors during their final semester.

Albert C. Pierce has served as the inaugural director of the Institute for National Security Ethics and Leadership at National Defense University since 2007. From August 1998 until February 2006 he served as the founding director of the Center for the Study of Professional Military Ethics (now the Vice Admiral James B. Stockdale Center for Ethical Leadership) at the U.S. Naval Academy. Prior to that he was a professor of military strategy at the National War College, where he taught courses in military strategy, the use of military force, civil-military relations, ethics, French security policy, and national security policymaking. He has also held a variety of government and Defense Department positions, served in several National Security Strategy think tanks, and was a defense correspondent for NBC News. Pierce holds a bachelor’s degree (cum laude) from the Catholic University of America, as well as an M.A. and a Ph.D. in political science from Tufts University.

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