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Journal of Learning in Higher Education

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In 1986, Stephen Satris’s article, "Student Relativism," means to "offer analysis of, and suggest some methods for dealing with, a quite particular and peculiar problem in teaching philosophy…I speak of the problem of student relativism." (Satris, 1986, p. 193) The problem has not gone away.

However, psychological research suggests that the problem of relativism, a problem especially critical for teaching business ethics (or any other class in applied philosophy) is not insolvable. This paper, extending earlier work by R. McGowan, provides a brief account of research by Lawrence Kohlberg and William Perry on the structure of thought exhibited by students, gives evidence of that structure, and offers pedagogical strategies for overcoming that structure and attaining moral minimalism in the classroom.


This article was originally published in Journal of Learning in Higher Education, 2010, Volume 6, Issue 2.