Faculty: A. Sheikh
This course is about basics of ethics and morality in public life, its meaning, practice and enforcement for general public and civil servants alike. More importantly, it's about understanding ethics without ambiguity to answer questions and solve ethical problems given in the USPC General Studies Paper IV.
Ethics as a disciple is a composite of Epistemology, Metaphysics, Aesthetics, Logic & Reason, Philosophy, Sociology and Theology, hence trying to explain ethics from one dimension of either sociology or philosophy leads to pitfalls, especially as the UPSC exam tests the problem solving approach of the aspirant on various issues and conflicts faced by him/her with society. This course teaches relevant theories of ethics and their practical application in real life situations. For example, if you see your closest friend copying answers from a book in the examination what would you do and why? Giving an impulsive answer will not suffice, the case has to be dissected into various sections, such as what are the moral issues involved, which ethical theories explain this case, and whether Normative approach should be taken or Consequential approach to solve this ethical case.
As Maimonides said,
"Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime"- We do exactly the same, we do not feed you with solutions to ethical problems, and we teach you how to find these solutions.
The course offers diagnostic tools and skill sets and provides a framework of analysis needed to solve cases of public and professional ethics at large and focuses specifically on the issues of Integrity and Probity of civil servants in India.
Cases are built around typical ethical demands that civil servants face in India, while discharging duties; ranging from conflicts of personal and public duties, issues of Right to Information Act, impartiality, adherence to service conduct rules and issues of corruption and whistle blowing at work place.
The classroom sessions will always relate syllabus to real-world issues that make sense to the aspirants and will encourage discussion and participation from the students. Throughout the course, special care will be taken to ensure that the learning of ethics translates into successful competing at the UPSC exam.