Thoughts for students of ethics
There is a world of difference between moral exhortation and...
doing moral philosophy/ethics!
Moral exhortation often includes appeals to personal opinion ("I really think you should do that"); appeals to authority ("god would be pleased with that decision"); and sometimes public sanctions ("what would so-and-so think?").
ONE VALUE OF ETHICAL REASONING is that it allows us to ask the question, "Why?"
WHY might this decision be better than that one or a third? Are good reasons available? Which writers have commented on this issue? If it is controversial, have I informed myself of the various arguments?
If I am a religious believer, why should I think god will approve this course over that one? Do I have a right to assume this before researching the issue and applying some hard reasoning?
I submit that ethical reasoning involves critical thinking skills, gathering relevant information, weighing options... At its best, it reminds us to be human, to be kind, caring, courageous, set healthy boundaries, cultivate respect for others. Done well it offers guidance in how to do this in specific situations...
Study hard, have some fun, and be well!