Boosting public discourse: a targeted, evidence-based approach to improving moral reasoning
The project seeks to empower the next generation of citizens to engage in high-quality public discourse through an innovative decision-making game that develops critical thinking and encourages considered use of key moral terms.
The researchers will work with young people to identify key moral terms used during the recent pandemic. They will conduct a philosophical analysis to study how these concepts are used in public discourse. The next step will be to develop an online decision-making game with the aid of the young contributors. The game will encourage participants to reflect on their own understanding of key moral terms and help them develop stronger moral arguments.
Public discourse plays an important role in understanding the impact of pandemics and the measures taken to control them. It is crucial for evaluating the proportionality of measures and for ensuring that a range of different perspectives are taken on board. Covid-19 has highlighted challenges in public discourse, such as limited participation by certain groups. Clear and consistent use of key moral terms in public discourse can help improve our understanding and management of the pandemic.
The project aims to contribute to a better understanding of how public discourse can fail because of unconsidered use of key moral terms and to propose a strategy for improving critical thinking skills that focuses on the considered use of key moral terms among young people as the next generation of citizens.
Empowering citizens – particularly the young generation – to engage constructively in high-quality public discourse will simplify the search for the best measures to adopt in a crisis, increase the democratic legitimacy of measures and strengthen society’s resilience and cohesion.
The project targets young people because they are at a stage in their lives where moral reasoning skills can be learnt more easily and because they will be leading public discourse in the coming decades. The study findings could impact how we develop and employ the capacity for moral reasoning and how democratic societies shape public discourse. It could also help public discourse fulfil its potential to contribute to a resilient society.
Boosting Public Discourse: Towards a Targeted, Evidence-Based Strategy to Improve Moral Reasoning