Teaching Ethics in S. Africa

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Long title: 
Can Virtue be Taught? Reflections on Teaching Legal Ethics in South Africa
Author(s): 
Mnyongani, Freddy
Author(s)' contact information: 
University of South Africa, South Africa
Conference title: 
International Legal Ethics Conference VI
Conference location: 
City University London
Country: 
South Africa
Year: 
2014

Whether virtue can be taught or not, is an old philosophical problem which has over the centuries occupied the minds of philosophers. For instance, in the dialogue between Meno and Socrates, Meno asks, “[i]s virtue something that can be taught? Or does it come by practice? Or is it neither teaching nor practice that gives it to a man (sic) but natural aptitude or something else?” This question, asked centuries ago, should continue to behove us as we teach ethics. In South Africa, it has become a practice for most professions to demand that the new members entering the profession should do a compulsory course in ethics, and the legal profession is no exception. This paper seeks to wrestle with Meno’s question and then proceed to the challenges of teaching legal ethics in South Africa today.

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