this revised paper, originally published in Educational Leadership
(1988), Richard Paul argues that ethics ought to be taught in school,
but only in conjunction with critical thinking. Without critical
thinking at the heart of ethical instruction, indoctrination rather than
ethical insight results. Moral principles do not apply themselves, they
require a thinking mind to assess facts and interpret situations. Moral
agents inevitably bring their perspectives into play in making moral
judgments and this, together with the natural tendency of the human mind
to self-deception when its interests are involved, is the fundamental
impediment to the right use of ethical principles.
Paul spells out the implications of this view for the teaching of
ethics in literature, science, history, and civics. He provides a
taxonomy of moral reasoning skills and describes an appropriate long
term staff development strategy to foster ethics across the curriculum"