Ethics in Action

What do the world’s great religious and secular philosophies have to say about ethical conduct? Which virtues are common across faiths? And what role do religious communities have to play in building a more just and sustainable world?


    About this course

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    The challenges of sustainable development are more than technical or political—they are also moral, calling on us to examine who we are as human beings, and who we want to be going forward.

    This examination of what makes a “good person”—called virtue ethics—has long been the purview of philosophers and theologians. So what do the world’s great religious and secular philosophies have to say about ethical conduct? Which virtues are common across creeds and cultures? And what role do ethics, spirituality, and religious communities have to play in sustainable development?

    In 2016, distinguished leaders from the world’s major religious traditions, philosophers, scholars, and scientists were invited by Pope Francis to the Vatican for a series of meetings. Known as the Ethics in Action initiative, these meetings sought to promote dialogue and find consensus about the values needed to advance transformative action for our common home and the human family.

    This course features Ethics in Action meeting participants, as well as other leading voices, and discusses the perspectives of some of the world’s great traditions and their role in addressing our world’s most pressing challenges, including poverty, corruption, and climate change. It presents multi-faith cooperation as essential for achieving sustainable development, and calls for the development of a new shared virtue ethics to bring us all into a sustainable and peaceful future.

    This course is for:

    • Religious and spiritual communities and individuals who want to contribute to the work of sustainable development
    • Development professionals who want to understand and engage local faith communities
    • Advanced undergraduates and graduate students interested in philosophy, religion, theology, and their relation to global issues

    Course Curriculum

    Introduction to Ethics in Action
    Chapter 1: Sustainable Development and the Need for Ethics in Action 00:00:00
    Chapter 2: The History of Sustainable Development and the SDGs 00:00:00
    Chapter 3: The Moral and Practical Limits of Global Capitalism 00:00:00
    Chapter 4: Moral Teachings and Sustainable Development: An Overview from the World’s Religions 00:00:00
    Chapter 5: The Scope of the Ethics in Action Course 00:00:00
    Module 2: Religion and Virtue Ethics - Part I
    Chapter 1: Lessons from Classical Greece 00:00:00
    Chapter 2: Lessons from Classical China 00:00:00
    Chapter 3: A Hindu Perspective 00:00:00
    Chapter 4: A Buddhist Perspective 00:00:00
    Module 3: Religion and Virtue Ethics - Part II
    Chapter 1: A Jewish Perspective 00:00:00
    Chapter 2: A Catholic Perspective 00:00:00
    Chapter 3: A Protestant Evangelical Perspective 00:00:00
    Chapter 4: An Islamic Perspective 00:00:00
    Chapter 5: An Indigenous Perspective 00:00:00
    Module 4: The Virtuous Society
    Chapter 1: Virtue Ethics as a Multi-Religious Consensus 00:00:00
    Chapter 2: Inquiry and Moral Reasoning 00:00:00
    Chapter 3: Spirituality and the Common Good 00:00:00
    Chapter 4: Virtue Ethics and Science 00:00:00
    Chapter 5. Gender Equality: A Confucian Perspective 00:00:00
    Module 5: Poverty and Inequality
    Chapter 1: The Challenge of Global Poverty 00:00:00
    Chapter 2: The Rights to Health, Education, and Decent Work 00:00:00
    Chapter 3: Christian Social Teachings on Poverty 00:00:00
    Chapter 4: Ethical Conduct Towards the Vulnerable 00:00:00
    Chapter 5: Ethical Actions to End Poverty 00:00:00
    Module 6: Peace
    Chapter 1: The State of Conflict around the World 00:00:00
    Chapter 2: Barriers to Lasting Peace among and within Nations 00:00:00
    Chapter 3: Tenets of Peace of the World’s Religions 00:00:00
    Chapter 4: Religion and Peacebuilding 00:00:00
    Chapter 5: Actions for a Lasting Peace: Lessons from Syria 00:00:00
    Module 7: Refugees, Trafficking, and Modern Slavery
    Chapter 1: Drivers of Migration, Human Trafficking, and Modern 00:00:00
    Chapter 2: The Ethics of Migration and Refugees 00:00:00
    Chapter 3: The Ethics of Modern Slavery and Trafficking 00:00:00
    Chapter 4: Political and Social Responses to Forced Migration 00:00:00
    Module 8: Environmental Justice
    Chapter 1: Environmental Perils Facing the Planet 00:00:00
    Chapter 2: A Hindu Approach to Environmental Care 00:00:00
    Chapter 3: Laudato Si’ and Climate Justice 00:00:00
    Chapter 4: The Rights of Indigenous Populations 00:00:00
    Chapter 5: Defending our Common Home: Global and Local Actions 00:00:00
    Module 9: Politics and Power
    Chapter 1: Politics, Power, and the Common Good 00:00:00
    Chapter 2: The Moral Underpinnings of Statecraft 00:00:00
    Chapter 3: Ethics and the International Political Order 00:00:00
    Chapter 4: Corruption and Politics Today 00:00:00
    Module 10: Business, Work, and the Common Good
    Chapter 1: The Moral Basis for Business Activity 00:00:00
    Chapter 2: Corruption and Global Business 00:00:00
    Chapter 3: Technology and the Dignity of Work 00:00:00
    Chapter 4: Business Leadership for Community Well-being 00:00:00
    Course Conclusion: Towards a New Virtue Ethics for Sustainable Development
    Examining Ethics in Action: Case Studies
    Pope Francis and Multi-Faith Action 00:00:00
    Religions for Peace 00:00:00
    Community-based Healthcare in Africa 00:00:00
    Health and Climate Change 00:00:00
    Reflections from the Business Community 00:00:00
    Move Humanity 00:00:00

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