10. Giving and taking reasons

Lesson powerpoint here

Wisdom: doing the right thing for the right reasons.

  • Ask class why they think it is important to be able to give reasons for our speech/actions.
  • A good moral decision depends upon doing the right thing, at the right time, in the right way, to the right people, for the right reasons. Moral reasoning involves juggling complex demands. Becoming more morally skilful requires practice at giving reasons for our actions.
  • Play the Barry Schwartz TED talk on wisdom and give pupils the questions to discuss:
    • Are you surprised that Barry Schwartz used the example of hospital janitors to explore moral skill?
    • What are the 4 things that the wise person is able to do?
    • What was your emotional reaction to the Mike’s Hard Lemonade story?
    • What point is Barry Schwartz making when he tells that story?

2. Madison’s Dilemma.

  • Ask pupils to get into small groups and discuss the dilemma faced by Madison. What moral foundation(s) does this get at? What emotions is Madison likely to be feeling? What is their reaction to what the coach is requesting of Madison?
  • Ask the pupils to complete the moral reasoning sheet which goes with the dilemma. This requires them to do 2 things: 1. To rate Madison’s options in this situation and 2. To rate the different reasons Madison might give for the course of action she might take.
  • Discuss everyone’s responses as a class. Is there consensus or disagreement? Is there a right answer to this situation, or is it fundamentally just a matter of opinion? Is there an objective and universal good which is being threatened by the coach’s request, or not?