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Ethics in Action (edX)

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? 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?


Ethics in Action | SDGAcademyX on edX

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

What you’ll learn

– The meaning of virtue ethics and its expression in several major religious and philosophical traditions

– The importance of establishing multi-faith consensus to advance sustainable development

– The importance of involving faith communities in peace and development work

– How ethics motivates the actions of religious and secular leaders, politicians, scientists, civil society, and business

– What shared virtue ethics are needed to create a more peaceful and prosperous world for everyone

Module 1: Introduction to Ethics in Action

Chapter 1: Sustainable Development and the Need for Ethics in Action

Chapter 2: The History of Sustainable Development and the SDGs

Chapter 3: The Moral and Practical Limits of Global Capitalism

Chapter 4: Moral Teachings and Sustainable Development: An Overview from the World’s Religions

Chapter 5: The Scope of the Ethics in Action Course

Module 2: Religion and Virtue Ethics – Part I

Chapter 1: Lessons from Classical Greece

Chapter 2: Lessons from Classical China

Chapter 3: A Hindu Perspective

Chapter 4: A Buddhist Perspective

Module 3: Religion and Virtue Ethics – Part II

Chapter 1: A Jewish Perspective

Chapter 2: A Catholic Perspective

Chapter 3: A Protestant Evangelical Perspective

Chapter 4: An Islamic Perspective

Chapter 5: An Indigenous Perspective

Module 4: The Virtuous Society

Chapter 1: Virtue Ethics as a Multi-Religious Consensus

Chapter 2: Inquiry and Moral Reasoning

Chapter 3: Spirituality and the Common Good

Chapter 4: Virtue Ethics and Science

Chapter 5. Gender Equality: A Confucian Perspective

Module 5: Poverty and Inequality

Chapter 1: The Challenge of Global Poverty

Chapter 2: The Rights to Health, Education, and Decent Work

Chapter 3: Christian Social Teachings on Poverty

Chapter 4: Ethical Conduct Towards the Vulnerable

Chapter 5: Ethical Actions to End Poverty

Module 6: Peace

Chapter 1: The State of Conflict around the World

Chapter 2: Barriers to Lasting Peace among and within Nations

Chapter 3: Tenets of Peace of the World’s Religions

Chapter 4: Religion and Peacebuilding

Chapter 5: Actions for a Lasting Peace: Lessons from Syria

Module 7: Refugees, Trafficking, and Modern Slavery

Chapter 1: Drivers of Migration, Human Trafficking, and Modern

Chapter 2: The Ethics of Migration and Refugees

Chapter 3: The Ethics of Modern Slavery and Trafficking

Chapter 4: Political and Social Responses to Forced Migration

Module 8: Environmental Justice

Chapter 1: Environmental Perils Facing the Planet

Chapter 2: A Hindu Approach to Environmental Care

Chapter 3: Laudato Si’ and Climate Justice

Chapter 4: The Rights of Indigenous Populations

Chapter 5: Defending our Common Home: Global and Local Actions

Module 9: Politics and Power

Chapter 1: Politics, Power, and the Common Good

Chapter 2: The Moral Underpinnings of Statecraft

Chapter 3: Ethics and the International Political Order

Chapter 4: Corruption and Politics Today

Module 10: Business, Work, and the Common Good

Chapter 1: The Moral Basis for Business Activity

Chapter 2: Corruption and Global Business

Chapter 3: Technology and the Dignity of Work

Chapter 4: Business Leadership for Community Well-being

Course Conclusion: Towards a New Virtue Ethics for Sustainable Development

Examining Ethics in Action: Case Studies

– Pope Francis and Multi-Faith Action

– Religions for Peace

– Community-based Healthcare in Africa

– Health and Climate Change

– Reflections from the Business Community

– Move Humanity

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