Social Responsibility

1. In a few sentences, what (according to the text) is “social responsibility” and why does it take courage to teach social responsibility?

Social Responsibility communicates commitment to live in ways that are personally and globally ethical and caring. It also means being personally invested in the well-being of others and the well-being of the planet. The development of social responsibility is emotional, cognitive, and affiliative. What this means is that it is difficult to teach the emotional side of social responsibility as well as the affiliative side. It also takes courage to teach social responsibility because it can be controversial. Many parents may be critical of the teacher who tells their students they need to feel obligated to help starving children in Ethiopia. Many people would say that is not our problem.

2.In a few sentences… of the “four basic processes that nurture social responsibility”(see page 192), which process(es) do you believe to be most important in forming socially responsible citizens? Explain.

The four principals are caring environments, prosocial and ethical behavior by parents, perspective taking skills that allow them to empathize with those who have faced injustice or been oppressed, and finally is facing injustice and learning effective ways to handle conflict situations. I believe the most important principal is the ability to empathize those who have faced injustice. Often times, a person cannot relate with every instance of injustice, so they are going to have to be willing to put themselves in another person’s shoes which at times, can be very difficult. I do believe having ethical adult figures is very important, but is possible to learn empathy without adult figures (could be difficult), however, empathy is the key to being able to be socially responsible. We cannot feel everything others are feeling, but we can try our best to empathize.

2. In 2-3 few paragraphs… how do different people (who have different values and fundamental understandings of justice, truth, & etc.) disagree about what values to promote and pursue? What do you think about pursuing a common vision when there isn’t a consensus?

There are productive and unproductive ways for different people to disagree on what values to pursue. An unproductive way is to argue people to death and end up hating the other side for disagreeing with your value set. Also, the complete dismissal of the other side as “immoral” “unethical” or “unjust” is simply not helpful in these situations of disagreement. One must have an open mind and be willing to empathize. The productive way to disagree with people who are different than you is to first listen to understand, not reply. Really challenge one self to look through our eyes at the situation, empathize with their viewpoints, and be willing to walk a mile in their shoes. Although there may be a lot of disagreement, perhaps some common ground could be found on some basic values, and this can be built on from there.

Pursuing a common vision without consensus can be dangerous, but at times, it can be necessary. It can be dangerous in the sense that both sides are unhappy, and continuing on will only lead to further divide and anger towards the other side. However, both sides must be willing to compromise and come to some kind of understanding about what the best way forward is. The United States is really struggling with a common vision right now, there is rarely bipartisan legislation, and most votes are along party lines. There is not consensus, so there can be no common vision. When this happens, it furthers divide within a state.

4. In 3-4 paragraphs… offer your own stance: what does it mean to be ethical/moral in a descriptive and normative sense? How have you come to that conclusion/what is that based on?

In terms of descriptive sense, there are many ways in which ethical/moral could be defined or play itself out. In order to describe how things are (descriptive statements) we apply our own ethical lens to that picture. If we believe economic inequality is immoral, than we should be very unhappy with what is happening in the United States, South Africa, and many other countries in the world. Economic inequality is just how the world is right now. If we believe global poverty is immoral, than we should be relieved that global poverty has decreased dramatically in the last 100 years, but we should be angered that it has increased in the last 20 years in Africa.

In terms of normative sense, we also apply our moral/ethical lens to ideas about how the world should be in the future. Back to poverty, if we are passionate about eradicating poverty, than we should, as a global citizen, strive to end global poverty by 2050. We apply our values to our visions of how the world should be in the future. Many people have different values, thus shaping their future perspective of the world. With many people having a different vision, it is hard to have a “common vision” that is a goal for global citizens. We must focus on what unites us, what values we have in common, and build upon those. This can be very difficult with such a diverse set up values and principles, however, it is necessary for the survival of our planet.

I have come to this conclusion based upon the reading and our discussions of morality in class. As the article says, “A Connected relationship with society emerges overtime and through the ongoing dialogue with others” We cannot begin to understand our differences between one another and thus analyze our normative statements about how the world should be without conversation. Honest conversation is the key to ending divide in our nation and in our world.


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