Ethics Education in the Military

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  2. #DEFAUS17 IDEA PITCH – Military Ethics Education Playing Cards – Grounded Curiosity
  3. Ethics Education in the Military

However, whilst it is one thing to say that soldiers will have to undergo ethics training, it is quite another to ensure that they learn the right lessons from it.


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Given the fact that few Western states now send their military forces on operations independently, the lack of uniformity about what constitutes ethical behavior and how troops should be educated in it, is potentially a cause for serious alarm. This book advances knowledge and understanding of the issues associated with this subject by bringing together experts from around the world to analyse the content, mode of instruction, theoretical underpinnings, and the effect of cultural and national differences within current ethics programmes.

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An Ethics Curriculum for an Evolving Army. What Ought One to Do?

However, sometimes the contemporary operating environment presents situations in which it might not be clear what the legal position actually is. Small wars are conceived in uncertainty, are conducted often with precarious responsibility and doubtful authority, under indeterminate orders lacking specific instructions. Even where the framework of the law is absolutely clear, and the range of legally permissible options can be clearly identified, the law is still not enough on its own to provide the actual answers.

Leadership Ethics

A decision still needs to be made as to which course of action one should take. However, it is important to note that the disagreements that arise are actually very narrow in focus.

Philosophers and ethicists are drawn to the complicated examples where it is not straightforward to see how to apply the rules in that specific situation. However, that is very different from saying that there is no agreement on the Discussing the really complicated examples allows us to explore which principle is best applied in which circumstance, and the strengths and weaknesses of different tools.

#DEFAUS17 IDEA PITCH – Military Ethics Education Playing Cards – Grounded Curiosity

This is exactly why there is a need for education rather than training in this important area. Training, done well, teaches what to do in a specific situation. Education, done well, is about equipping individuals with the tools and skills to be able to make sense of and do the correct thing in any situation, regardless of whether it has been trained for. It is precisely the questions for which there are not black and white responses that need to be engaged with, thought about and discussed by the people for whom they are most pertinent — military practitioners — before those people are put into situations where they need to actually make those decisions.

Ethics Education in the Military

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