Johnson, William Scott (2012)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.
Restricted to Repository staff only until 01 July 2018.
The teaching of values to youth in contemporary societies is more problematic than ever before. Globalisation, technological change, the decline of belief systems, and the breakdown of the family have created an environment where people fear that character education may impart values to children which conflict with their own. Natural law holds the potential to identify basic values which almost all can embrace. Some believe Hume’s Guillotine has rendered natural law reasoning invalid. The perceived objections to ethical naturalism of Hume, Moore, and Mackie are herein shown to pose no significant obstacles to natural law thought. A contemporary form of ancient natural law reasoning is advanced here; it is then combined with a uniquely simple and practical approach to pedagogy. This pedagogy is shown to have exceptional motivational power. The ability of the form of natural law reasoning here set forth to deduce prescriptivity from the natural world is then demonstrated, using the area of reproductive and gestational health in order to give an instantiation of legitimate derivation of values from facts. This ethical reasoning and teaching strategy will likely be approved by those who would otherwise object to children being taught values while at school.
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