Now that you have written your Self-awareness and Passion essays, the next step is Practical Ethics, partly because U. T., like Leadershape, requires it.
Overview of Ethics.
In the West whereas the ostensibly female approach to ethics is embedded in relationships, the stereotypically male perspective is more oriented to autonomy and individualism, emphasizing separation rather than connection. In a university setting such as ours, ethics has usually been represented as a subject for philosphers who appeal to reason alone. In one masculine perspective, Utilitarianism, ethics becomes a math problem in which humans are the numbers. The main tension seems to be between reason and emotion. This is not surprising because many men in the West are brought up believing sympathy and compassion are feminine rather than masculine feelings. Hence, there has often been a split between what seems to be women's sense of morality focused on care and relationships and what seems to be men's conceptions of morality as fairness, justice, and rights enforced by rules. As students will get the latter perspective on ethics throughout much of the university, we will provide a little space for the alternative points of view. In other words, as Martel puts in the Life of Pi (p. 80):
the moral sense, which strikes one as more important than an intellectual understanding of things; an alignment of the universe along moral lines, not intellectual ones; a realization that the founding principle of existence is what we call love, which works itself out sometimes not clearly, not cleanly, not immediately, nonetheless ineluctably.
ETHICS IN THE WEST
In the West one of the alternative approaches to ethics is Virtue Theory, which can be traced back to Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. Aristotle, for example, defined five character types, from the great-souled man to the moral monster. The Greeks and Romans focused mainly on character traits as the subjects of ethics, esp. what they considered the cardinal virtues of courage, temperance, justice, wisdom, etc. However, "morality," as we know it in our culture now, did not seem so important in their discussions of these virtues.
When Aquinas, in the thirteenth century, added faith, hope, and charity to these virtues in order to synthesize Judeo-Christian and Greco-Roman, the result was something closer to our sense of "morality." The most important of Aquinas's virtues for ethics is “CHARITY.” What did Aquinas mean by “charity”? The second of Jesus’s two commandments is "Love thy neighbor as thyself." Love here is closest to the Greek sense of agape. It is the opposite of fear as in “Perfect LOVE casteth out fear.” Related virtues are COMPASSION, SYMPATHY, and EMPATHY and an obvious related skill is THE SYMPATHETIC IMAGINATION.
ETHICS IN THE EAST
Hinduism: In the Upanishads, the three virtues are "self-restraint," giving or SELF-SACRIFICE, and COMPASSION (basically, setting aside the ego and its own narrow self-interests). In the Bagvhad Gita AHIMSA is strongly recommended (16.2, 17.14) as well as concern for the ‘welfare of all’ and ‘desiring the good of every living creature’ (3.20, 5.25). For Krishna, an ethical person is one who is “without hatred of any creature; friendly; and compassionate without possessiveness and self-pride” (12:13).
Buddhism: Benevolence is central, especially as expressed in the four sublime virtues of "LOVINGKINDNESS, COMPASSION, sympathetic joy, and equanamity." There are also virtues related to conscientiousness and self-restraint. In Mahayana Buddhism the highest ideal is the Bodhisatva who has infinite commitment to others and is an expression of the widest limits of altruism.
Jainism: Of the five vows, "AHIMSA" is the foundational vow: non-harming of sentient beings, i.e. uncompromising reverence for all life, surpassing in this respect the Ahimsa vows of the Hindus and Buddhists. Ahimsa is based on extending knowledge/experience of one’s own pain to others’ experience of pain.
STEP ONE. CHOOSE ONE OF THE FOLLOWING VIRTUES: LOVE (AGAPE), LOVINGKINDNESS, COMPASSION, SYMPATHY, EMPATHY, THE SYMPATHETIC IMAGINATION, AHIMSA, or SELF-SACRIFICE.
[It would be felicitous if one of these appeared in your P2 or you expect will appear in your P4 (hammer your thoughts into unity). However, the virtue you choose certainly need not be one that fits in with your Passion essay or your plans for your Leadership essay.]
For this project, you may write fiction or nonfiction or some combination of the two. In any case, make it clear in your essay or story which virtue is your subject and why there is a need for more of this virtue in your life or in the world. The communication of the need sets up the ethical problem and the action plan which you will include in the essay or story.
STEP TWO. CONSIDER YOUR OPTIONS:
OPTION 1: Try to advance your awareness and practice of this virtue in everyday life, especially in the kind of leadership, social situations that the framers of the ethics requirement had in mind. By trying to increase your capacity for a specific virtue, presumably you will be raising consciousness of the many ethical issues that arise daily, as well as your options for responding. You will be trying to create a new self, maybe daily, maybe even minute by minute. Most of your ethics essay will be devoted to describing this experience.
Make your account of this experience as concrete, detailed, and dramatic as possible. (Perhaps focus on a single incident as in Andrew's project.) Draw the reader into the ethical situation. Make it as dramatic as possible, with suspense, conflict, resolution, etc. Make sure to include at least one leadership moment when your personal interests conflict with those of others and you had to make an ethical decision. If you can not think of such a moment in your past, you can imagine one in your future. Perhaps make the essay revolve around this decision.
THE EXAMPLE OF COMPASSION. Recognizing that “There is a long line of thought that finds the source of ethics in the attitudes of benevolence and sympathy for others that most people have,” an obvious example would be “COMPASSION,” a key virtue in four of the five ethical traditions cited above.
EXAMPLE 1. In a Christian context, perhaps your motto would be “Perfect love casteth out fear.” Your daily practice then would be to become aware that you have a choice between love and fear almost every minute, and then trying to shift from fear to love in that moment, especially in leadership, social situations. Most of your essay would be writing about those experiences and what you learned from them about practical ethics, especially in leadership, social situations.
EXAMPLE 2. What would it be like to try to increase your capacity for compassion in your daily life? An obvious example of how pursuit of this virtue could occupy you daily is compassion for animals. As you go about your day, you will be making many decisions involving treatment of pets, use of animals for food, clothing, entertainment, etc. Describe this experience, especially in leadership, social situations.
OPTION 2: REVIEW THE DEFINITION OF THE "SYMPATHETIC IMAGINATION"
Choose a being in need of compassion and see the world from that being's perspective. See examples below.
In any case, a typical outline would be  the initial identification of the virtue and statement of need or problem,  the body of the essay focused on option one or two below, and  the final action plan. You need not follow this order but all three parts of the essay/story must be included in the version submitted to Blackboard by 11:59 PM the night before the paper copy of the Blackboard version is brought to class. Needless to say, the Blackboard version must also be 1400 words or more.
*conclude with an action plan. Ethics requires not only a virtue, such as compassion, but an application of this virtue to practical problems in your daily life. This need not be the kind of detailed plan you will include in your leadership vision.
1]U. T. ETHICS REQUIREMENT: “In the process of fulfilling the core curriculum and other degree requirements, all undergraduates are expected to complete courses with content in the following six areas: * Writing: three courses beyond Rhetoric and Writing 306 or its equivalent * Quantitative reasoning: one course * Global cultures: one course * Cultural diversity in the United States: one course * Ethics and leadership: one course * Independent inquiry: one course.
Faculty Council Legislation: To satisfy the Ethics and Leadership flag, at least one-third of the courses grade must be based on work in practical ethics, i.e., the study of what is involved in making real-life ethical choices.”