The term “ethics” or “moral philosophy” refers to the branch in philosophy that studies the concepts of right and wrong behavior, systematizes the knowledge on this subject, and examines the ways of its practical application. There are many philosophical schools that consider various aspects of ethics. Each of them prioritizes one or another facet of morality depending on cultural and historical context and desired model of behavior that the teaching aims to incline people to follow. In the field of academic study, the major goal of ethics can be formulated as an attempt to answer certain moral questions in order to improve communication between people in different social environments and to stimulate them to behave in accordance with norms accepted in a particular community. From this perspective, studying ethics in class may be considered an important and controversial question as it influences the psychological development of students and imposes a worldview limited by the framework of one or another moral teaching.
In my opinion, courses on ethics can truly change thinking in a more critical direction if the subjects it focuses on were explored with scientific approach. For instance, moral dilemmas should be regarded with such argumentation that relies on evidence-based scientific research and presents many-sided view on the problem. Ethics should also consider diverse cultural context and its specifications in order to answer certain moral questions that are acute in a particular society within a particular timeframe. Furthermore, to really refine someone’s thinking, ethics must be taught using a multi-layered approach to the problem that is accompanied with real-life examples of how certain moral dilemmas can be solved with the help of moral philosophy.