Ethics in Harry
Ethics is a field of study that provides a systematic, rational way to determine the best course of action to a `gray' moral problem. There are many such issues in the Harry Potter Series: Is an Unforgivable Curse always unforgiveable? Do Snape's "selfish" motivations matter for his good deeds? Did Dumbledore really forget about "for the greater good" in his later actions? Was Dumbledore asking for a "Snape Assisted Suicide"? What about some of the Order's wartime actions? These questions do not have easy answers and discussions can degrade into angry and divisive circular arguments. These types of disagreements can result in resentments and frustration because each person is (unknowingly) coming from different ethical perspectives. This presentation will present a basic background of Ethics, including four major ethical perspectives, and will clear up the distinction between the often confused morals, values, and ethics. Participants will then discuss the applications of Ethics to the Harry Potter series in small groups. Resources will be available for teachers who might wish to incorporate Ethics into their curriculum.
Renee Agatsuma is a high school science teacher who regularly incorporates Ethics in her lessons because of the thoughtfulness and respect that these types of discussions generate. Scientists often grapple with issues about what they *can* possibly conflicting with what they *should* do. She teaches her classes so that she can develop scientifically literate, thoughtful citizens who can understand multiple perspectives. She has received her ethics training through the Northwest Association of Biomedical Research. She helps organize the Seattle Harry Potter meetup group.