Monday, December 18, 2017

Ethical Judgement

History isn't always perfect as we know.  Historians and students need to decide if what happened in the past was right and fair.  Were the actions of certain people fair or unjust.  Ethical judgements look at the effects of actions or decisions on people.

Another working definition from "TC2"may be:

Ethical judgments are attempts to assess the appropriateness of past actions and our current responses to them, remaining mindful of present values and sensibilities and considering fully the norms of the time.

  • ethical judgments may be positive or negative
  • ethical judgments can be directly stated or implied
  • ethical judgments should consider interests and perspectives of all key groups
  • ethical judgments of the past must be sensitive to historical context
  • the quality of ethical judgments depends on adequacy of the evidence
  • to determine whether an ethical judgement is defensible requires evidence in light of criteria

     Is History fact or judgement?

    Sometimes the language is what gets us:

    For example:

    • Muslim terrorists killed 3000 innocent people when they bombed the World Trade Center in New York City.
    • Thirty freedom fighters from Saudi Arabia crashed a plane into a building in New York City as a protest
      against the unlawful actions carried out in the Middle East by imperialist Western regimes.
    • Three thousand people died when thirty men from Saudi Arabia crashed a plane into a building in New York City.

      How do we get out fact from judgement?
      1. In order to determine which statement is most defensible, explain to students that they must consider the following criteria to judge the quality of their ethical judgment:
        • Interests and perspectives of all key groups are considered
        • Beliefs at the time are considered
        • Adequate relevant evidence is consulted

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