Author ORCID Identifier

Jeremy Bendik-Keymer

Document Type


Publication Date



The point of this talk is not to school you in the practice of ethics, but to raise questions about the practice of ethics. There is a standard picture of the practice of ethics that goes like this:

Ethical theory is done in a classroom. It is divided into normative theory, meta-ethics, and descriptive ethics. Students learn to see how the ethics in their society and community works; they learn how to discover true ethical beliefs and sometimes discover them during class. Through meta-ethics, they understand what it is to have an ethical belief. Then –and here comes the practice part- they go out and practice ethics.

In this picture, the domain of ethics is the domain of everyday life, and academic life has the role of providing the theory of everyday life, in this case, the theory of ethics. The point, then, is to apply what you learn in the classroom. The school is the think-tank for your world.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.

Included in

Philosophy Commons



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.