ethical neutrality

3677 Words Oct 2nd, 2013 15 Pages
ETHICAL NEUTRALITY

In what follows, when we use the term “evaluation” we will mean, where nothing else is implied or expressly stated, practical value-judgments as to the unsatisfactory or satisfactory character of phenomena subject to our influence. The problem involved in the “freedom” of a given discipline from evaluations of this kind, i.e., the validity and the meaning of this logical principle, is by no means identical with the question which is to be discussed shortly, namely, whether in teaching one should or should not declare one’s acceptance of practical evaluations, regardless of whether they are based on ethical principles, cultural ideals or a philosophical outlook. This question cannot be settled scientifically. It is
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On that account, in the last analysis, it must be decided only with reference to those tasks which the individual, according to his own set of values, assigns to the universities. Those who on the basis of their qualifications as university teachers assign to the universities, and thereby to themselves, the universal role of forming character, of inculcating political, ethical, aesthetic, cultural or other beliefs, will take a different position from those who believe it necessary to affirm the proposition and its implications – that university teaching achieves really valuable effects only through specialised training by specially qualified persons. Hence, “intellectual integrity” is the only specific virtue which universities should seek to inculcate.
The first point of view can be defended from as many different ultimate evaluative standpoints as the second. The second – which I personally accept – can be derived from a most enthusiastic as well as from a thoroughly modest estimate of the significance of “specialised training”. In order to defend this view, one need not be of the opinion that everyone should become as much a pure “specialist” as possible. One may, on the contrary, espouse it because one does not wish to see the ultimate and deepest personal decisions which a person must make regarding his life, treated exactly as if they were the same as specialised training.

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