Year 9 students have just completed a unit on Choice and Consequence. We explored a range of ethical issues, discussing not only whether something is right or wrong, but also why it is right or wrong. The students used technical terms to describe different approaches to ethical decision making, including:
– Hedonism – Will this cause me pleasure or pain? (pleasure = good, pain = bad)
– Emotivism – What feels right? What does my gut tell me to do?
– Deontology – What are the rules? (cultural, religious, government)
– Consequentialism – What are the results?
Truth is, in our society, what is right and wrong will be considerably different for each individual, and we all use different ethical approaches in different situations. It was great to see the students really engaged in conversations about issues ranging from “40 minute showers” to “accepting Syrian refugees”. Ultimately, the consensus was to make good choices, as our lives are the sum total of the consequences of our choices.