The importance of education in developing ethically sensitive individuals who use principled moral reasoning when facing dilemmas has been widely acknowledged (Pascarella & Terenzini, 1991; Rest et al., 1999b). However, ethics is typically omitted from the higher level curriculum and, if raised at all, comprises a very minor element of the course content of a small minority of modules. This paper makes the case for including deliberate moral reasoning interventions within higher education programmes. In doing so, it draws on the concepts of professionalism, citizenship and social capital and explains how moral reasoning development would encourage serving the public interest, active citizenship and the development of social capital. To illustrate the critical need for this to be achieved urgently, the paper refers to evidence from two recent studies carried out in Ireland, demonstrating a clear lack of principled moral reasoning among the respective cohorts tested.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/joanne_oflaherty/4/