Why Minor in Ethics?

Why study ethics?

Every department at this Catholic university could find sufficient justification in intellectual curiosity: after all, if everything was divinely created and affirmed as “good,” its careful study should intimate the glory of God.

The study of ethics, however, provides an essential complement to every major: it grounds our theoretical interests by inquiring into the ultimate meaning of, e.g., literary theory, philosophy, and physics, while also posing fundamental questions about the ultimate goals and permissible methods of more practical disciplines such as marketing, film-making, and engineering. The study of ethics is particularly appropriate for students considering law school. Not only do all law schools require courses in legal ethics but the practice of the law naturally gives rise to many important ethical questions, such as the defense of rights, attorney-client privilege, and obligations about truthfulness.

Most classes required for the Ethics Minor are offered by or cross-listed within the Philosophy Department. This should cause no surprise: ethics has always been a sub-discipline of philosophy, from which it draws its fundamental conceptual tools and methods.

Thus the Ethics Minor, like many of the liberal arts and like philosophy in particular, helps refine one's awareness of oneself and of the world by developing disciplined minds, perceptive and creative imaginations, and clear and concise communication skills.

These are tools the value of which cannot be overestimated, whatever career (or series of careers) one plans to explore. But the study of ethics has a practical as well as a theoretical focus. Continuing scandals in politics, business, industry, law, the military, public administration and the academic world itself reflect not only moral weakness, but the moral blindness and imperceptiveness of people who failed to appreciate the ethical dimensions of the difficult choices they faced.

As contemporary leaders recognize the moral, legal, social, environmental, and economic costs of such decisions, they are seeking the insight of those specifically trained in ethical deliberation. The Ethics Minor is designed to equip you to play an intelligent role in making your field-and ultimately the world-a better place.

NOTE: Philosophy Majors or Minors cannot also earn an Ethics Minor.