When it comes to the law we often want adolescents to think of it in strictly black and white terms, and certainly developmentally they may have challenges thinking of it in shades of gray, but this exercise is designed to do that.
Clearly in retrospect we know of laws that were unethical, such as bans on interracial marriage or laws requiring segregated schools. In contemporary society, we now debate gay marriage, while many states, including Arizona, forbid it by law.
This essay by Randy Cohen in the New York Times explores ethics and the law. Not all illegal behavior is unethical, cites Cohen arguing his law breaking while cycling is ethical.
Likewise, not all legal behavior is ethical–citing the great damage that cars do to our environment.
This essay creates an interesting an entry point for a class discussion that could then turn into a written essay or lead as a segway to other discussions of ethics and the law and human behavior. Read more…