Honor versus Justice

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Marvin_Edwards
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Honor versus Justice

Post by Marvin_Edwards » November 17th, 2020, 11:41 pm

Are “honor courts”, like those used at the University of Virginia, appropriate for handling cases of college cheating?

To answer, we need to explore briefly what “honor” and “justice” are about. Because they are not about the same thing.

There are two kinds of honor: (a) our own self-respect and (b) the respect accorded us by others.

Self-respect comes from integrity, the consistency of our behavior with our standards. We feel shame or guilt when we let ourselves down by doing something that we believe is wrong. That feeling moves us to correct the harm we’ve done and avoid doing it again.

The respect of others, in an honor system setting, is the trust the faculty affords students. Students are trusted to do the right thing, on their own, without someone standing over their shoulder.

So far, so good. But now we come to the “honor court”.

An “honor court” defends the honor of the student body. It has but a single penalty, expulsion. The message is that “we will not tolerate cheats among us”. By this this action, students expect to command respect from the adults in the academic community.

Sounds cool, right? Well, not so much after you lookup “honor killing” in Wikipedia. Outrageous? Not after you learn about the duel at the University of Virginia that resulted in a teacher’s death, and also gave birth to the “honor court”. You see we’re still talking about the same stuff here, “honor”.

The fact is that some things done in the name of “honor” are dishonorable and immoral.

And that brings us to “justice”. An “honor court” and a “court of justice” have very different goals.

Justice seeks to restore the balance of rights. These include the rights of the victim, the accused, the guilty, and the community. The victim has a right to reasonable recompense or repair of the damage suffered. The accused has a right to a fair trial. The guilty one has a right to a fair penalty. The community has a right to an effective penalty, one that reasonably prevents further victims.

To be effective, a penalty should provide reasonable assurance the offense will not be repeated. To be fair, a penalty should go no farther than that.

What penalty is both fair and effective the first time a student cheats on a test?

The most comprehensive study of college cheating was conducted by William Bowers while at Columbia University in New York. He surveyed 5000 students from 99 colleges. Two findings are especially relevant. First, 50% of the students admitted cheating at least once in college (either copying during a test, using crib notes, plagiarizing, or submitting someone else’s paper). Second, of those who admitted cheating on a test, at least 45% reported they did it only once (choices were “never”, “once”, “a few times”, or “several or many times”).

If 45% of those who cheat on a test stop on there own, without being caught, and with no penalty except their own shame, how do we justify kicking these students out of college on the first offense?

Expulsion cannot be justified unless there is some clear evidence that a lesser penalty would be ineffective.

A more appropriate penalty would be failing the test or the course, counseling, probation (taking the next few tests under surveillance), or a number of other more appropriate, but less dramatic, interventions.

If we’re dealing with an incorrigible, repeat offender, then don’t be shy about kicking him out. But this should be a last option, not the only option.

So, here we are with two options. Handling cheating cases in an “honor court” or handling them in a “court of justice”. It depends on your objective.

Here is a small wisdom:

Those seeking honor for honor’s sake alone are self-serving, and undeserving.

Those seeking justice for the sake of being just, have also earned honor, even though they did not seek it.

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Re: Honor versus Justice

Post by Ecurb » November 19th, 2020, 11:25 am

Breaking a solemn promise or oath is certainly a worse transgression than copying your friend's homework. Students don't need to attend U. Va. They can study elsewhere.

I'll grant that the "honor committee" that judges transgressions is probably made up of nerds who think school grades are some sort of indelible achievement. They're not. They're an accolade, not an achievement. Nonetheless, U.VA. students voluntarily sign up for the system

"Cheating" in compulsory state schooling prior to University is a different kettle of fish. The students have no say in what constitutes "cheating", and if the consent of the governed is a condition for moral governance, they need feel no obligation to follow any of the arbitrary rules the school may apply. Why should a high school student subject himself to ridicule, anger, and censure when he can just copy his friend's homework?

True: he'd learn more if he did his own homework, but that's irrelevant. He hasn't done his work, and he's faced with either copying, or the teacher's wrath.

I don't think there's anything wrong with seeking honor. Of all the things we seek (money, sex, food, glory), honor hardly seems the one that should be singled out as "self-serving". False honor (like thinking it is honorable to get good grades in school, or make a lot of money) is, perhaps, silly. But honor and justice go hand in hand. As I just wrote in another thread, "Fiat justitia ruat coelum." "Let justice be done though the heavens fall."

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Re: Honor versus Justice

Post by Marvin_Edwards » November 19th, 2020, 9:39 pm

Ecurb wrote:
November 19th, 2020, 11:25 am
Breaking a solemn promise or oath is certainly a worse transgression than copying your friend's homework. ...
The college certifies that a student has successfully completed each course of study. The student expects this of the college, because the student uses his degree to obtain employment. The employer expects the degree to mean what it says. So, each professor must have the right to fairly evaluate each student's achievement. Cheating violates this right.

The student has a right to a fair evaluation of his work. A professor who grades according to his personal biases violates the student's right to a fair evaluation.

In order to claim respect and protection for one's own rights, one must respect and be willing to protect the rights of others. That is the basis of the student's and the professor's claim to have their rights protected.

A "solemn promise or oath" to do what is already ethically required presumes one would not otherwise do the right thing. It presumes that ones own ethics are insufficient to control ones behavior.

Dealings between honorable people do not require solemn promises or oaths, because they are guaranteed by legally enforceable rules and contracts.
Ecurb wrote:
November 19th, 2020, 11:25 am
I'll grant that the "honor committee" that judges transgressions is probably made up of nerds who think school grades are some sort of indelible achievement. They're not. They're an accolade, not an achievement.
So, how do I convince my French teacher to give me an accolade better than a D?
Ecurb wrote:
November 19th, 2020, 11:25 am
Nonetheless, U.VA. students voluntarily sign up for the system
U.VA. students, like all students, go to college to get an education and a career. Acknowledging the rule against cheating should be sufficient without taking an oath.
Ecurb wrote:
November 19th, 2020, 11:25 am
"Cheating" in compulsory state schooling prior to University is a different kettle of fish.
Yes, in high school surveys about 75% (rather than 50%) admit having cheated at least once.
Ecurb wrote:
November 19th, 2020, 11:25 am
The students have no say in what constitutes "cheating", and if the consent of the governed is a condition for moral governance, they need feel no obligation to follow any of the arbitrary rules the school may apply. Why should a high school student subject himself to ridicule, anger, and censure when he can just copy his friend's homework?


The teacher has a right to accurately measure the student's achievement, because the high school reports that achievement to employers and colleges. The teacher also has a responsibility to teach each student what cheating is.
Ecurb wrote:
November 19th, 2020, 11:25 am
True: he'd learn more if he did his own homework, but that's irrelevant. He hasn't done his work, and he's faced with either copying, or the teacher's wrath.
And the teacher's wrath is justified, because cheating prevents her from carrying out her responsibility to fairly evaluate student achievement.
Ecurb wrote:
November 19th, 2020, 11:25 am
I don't think there's anything wrong with seeking honor. Of all the things we seek (money, sex, food, glory), honor hardly seems the one that should be singled out as "self-serving". False honor (like thinking it is honorable to get good grades in school, or make a lot of money) is, perhaps, silly. But honor and justice go hand in hand. As I just wrote in another thread, "Fiat justitia ruat coelum." "Let justice be done though the heavens fall."
We honor those whose behavior should be emulated. That's the point of honor. We should emulate the behavior of those who seek justice.

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Re: Honor versus Justice

Post by Ecurb » November 19th, 2020, 10:23 pm

The right to be graded fairly in school, if it is a right, has to be one of the least important and most blatantly violated of all rights. Most teachers grade not on how well their students have mastered the subject, but on how well they have completed their assignments and cow towed to the teacher's whims.

That probably serves the interests of employers, who want servile employees who will do as they are told.

Why would a teacher have a "right" to "accurately measure a student's achievement"? What if the student doesn't want it accurately measured? Why doesn't the student have any say in the matter? Where is the consent of the governed?

The cheating student AVOIDS the wrath of the teacher (assuming he isn't caught); the one who fails to turn in his homework incurs it.

"Fairly evaluating student achievement" is standard teaching practice; but it is not the essence of teaching. Many teachers think it is a tool to motivate and brow-beat students, but it is a heavy handed tool. The job of the teacher is to teach, not to evaluate.

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Re: Honor versus Justice

Post by Terrapin Station » November 20th, 2020, 7:51 am

Marvin_Edwards wrote:
November 17th, 2020, 11:41 pm

There are two kinds of honor: (a) our own self-respect and (b) the respect accorded us by others.
??? Honor isn't the same thing as respect (self or otherwise)

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Re: Honor versus Justice

Post by Terrapin Station » November 20th, 2020, 7:56 am

Well, at least not in the relevant sense. We could maybe say that "honor" amounts to respect when we're talking about the sense a la "He was given the honor of 'employee of the month.'" That's not the relevant sense for an "honor court" though.

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Re: Honor versus Justice

Post by Marvin_Edwards » November 20th, 2020, 8:22 am

Terrapin Station wrote:
November 20th, 2020, 7:56 am
Well, at least not in the relevant sense. We could maybe say that "honor" amounts to respect when we're talking about the sense a la "He was given the honor of 'employee of the month.'" That's not the relevant sense for an "honor court" though.
Then what do you suggest is the relevant sense of "honor" in " honor court"?

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Re: Honor versus Justice

Post by Marvin_Edwards » November 20th, 2020, 8:41 am

Ecurb wrote:
November 19th, 2020, 10:23 pm
The right to be graded fairly in school, if it is a right, has to be one of the least important and most blatantly violated of all rights. Most teachers grade not on how well their students have mastered the subject, but on how well they have completed their assignments and cow towed to the teacher's whims.
Teachers should not grade whimsically. They should be able to answer the question, "What can I do to get an A in this course?", and when someone does that, they should get an A. Parents, students, and school administrators expect this from teachers, and have a right to expect it.
Ecurb wrote:
November 19th, 2020, 10:23 pm
That probably serves the interests of employers, who want servile employees who will do as they are told.


Your cynicism is too high to be taken seriously.
Ecurb wrote:
November 19th, 2020, 10:23 pm
Why would a teacher have a "right" to "accurately measure a student's achievement"?


Because that's a requirement of their job.
Ecurb wrote:
November 19th, 2020, 10:23 pm
What if the student doesn't want it accurately measured?
That's tough ****. The student in grammar school, middle school, and high school is a child. It is the responsibility of the parents and the community to educate its children. It is the responsibility of the child to acquire the knowledge and skills needed to function as a self-sufficient adult.
Ecurb wrote:
November 19th, 2020, 10:23 pm
Why doesn't the student have any say in the matter? Where is the consent of the governed?
As students learns more about the world and the expectation of adults, they can make their own judgements and express their opinions. But they do not have the responsibility for deciding these matters until they are adults who can attend school board meetings and parent-teacher associations.
Ecurb wrote:
November 19th, 2020, 10:23 pm
The cheating student AVOIDS the wrath of the teacher (assuming he isn't caught); the one who fails to turn in his homework incurs it.


The student who thinks high school is a game of manipulating the teacher and avoiding learning is too immature to participate in governing what is taught.
Ecurb wrote:
November 19th, 2020, 10:23 pm
"Fairly evaluating student achievement" is standard teaching practice; but it is not the essence of teaching. Many teachers think it is a tool to motivate and brow-beat students, but it is a heavy handed tool. The job of the teacher is to teach, not to evaluate.
Testing evaluates the teaching as well as the learning.

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Re: Honor versus Justice

Post by Terrapin Station » November 20th, 2020, 9:33 am

Marvin_Edwards wrote:
November 20th, 2020, 8:22 am
Terrapin Station wrote:
November 20th, 2020, 7:56 am
Well, at least not in the relevant sense. We could maybe say that "honor" amounts to respect when we're talking about the sense a la "He was given the honor of 'employee of the month.'" That's not the relevant sense for an "honor court" though.
Then what do you suggest is the relevant sense of "honor" in " honor court"?
Here's a good definition of the relevant sense of "honor:"

"Honor is a matter of carrying out, acting, and living the values of respect, duty, loyalty, selfless service, integrity and personal courage in everything you do"

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Re: Honor versus Justice

Post by Ecurb » November 20th, 2020, 10:37 am

Marvin_Edwards wrote:
November 20th, 2020, 8:41 am


Teachers should not grade whimsically. They should be able to answer the question, "What can I do to get an A in this course?", and when someone does that, they should get an A. Parents, students, and school administrators expect this from teachers, and have a right to expect it.
Ecurb wrote:
November 19th, 2020, 10:23 pm
That probably serves the interests of employers, who want servile employees who will do as they are told.


Your cynicism is too high to be taken seriously.
Why is that? Surely one of the key aspects of government-funded schooling is to enculturate children to become productive citizens. This involves teaching them to read and write, but it also involves teaching them to respect authority, get along peacefully with others, be on time, and spend long periods of each day doing things they'd rather not be doing.
Ecurb wrote:
November 19th, 2020, 10:23 pm
Why would a teacher have a "right" to "accurately measure a student's achievement"?


Because that's a requirement of their job.
Surely you don't think that all job requirements are rights? Does that mean that those guards in concentration camps had a right to gas Jews? How about Plantation Managers during times of slavery? Did they have a right to whip slaves to get more work out of them? How about teachers in the no-so-distant past? Did they have a "right" to beat an education into their pupils with a hickory stick?

Speaking of rights, did the slaves have a right to try to escape? Did they have a right to shirk their work, if they could get away with it ("Jimmy crack corn, and I don't care, the master's gone away")? If they do have that right, why not students? Aren't students forced to go to school? Aren't rules governing their behavior handed down to them without their consent? Of course the abuse is not as egregious as it is in slavery, but the principles remain the same.


That's tough ****. The student in grammar school, middle school, and high school is a child. It is the responsibility of the parents and the community to educate its children. It is the responsibility of the child to acquire the knowledge and skills needed to function as a self-sufficient adult.

As students learns more about the world and the expectation of adults, they can make their own judgements and express their opinions. But they do not have the responsibility for deciding these matters until they are adults who can attend school board meetings and parent-teacher associations.


The responsiilities of the parents and teachers do not confer an obligation on the part of the student. ON what moral principle is the student obliged to follow all of the school's rules? Didn't those slaves on the Armistad kill the slave traders running the ship? Were't they acquitted of murder, when ex-President John Quincy Adams argued their case to the Supreme Court?

I have one story from my own mediocre scholastic career. In 7th grade (I was 11 years old) we had a big project for math class. We were supposed to make three dimensional geometric shapes, using construction paper, scissors, and tape. I suppose the notion was to teach kids how two dimensions transform into three. I didn't make the shapes. I considered it precisely the kind of busy work that teachers love, and I hated. I also forgot about the project as soon as I left the class.

One day, I came into the class room to hear the teacher cheerfully announce, "OK, class. Everyone get your shapes out and put them on the top of your desk. I'll come around and look at them and mark the project completed."

Naturally, I thought, "Uh oh! Those shapes! I've forgotten all about them." IN order to forstall the inevitable public humiliation, I pretended to rummage around, looking for my shapes, which I knew full well did not exist. I was seated at one of those old-fashioned desks where the top lifts up on hinges. I lifted the top, and Oh Joy! There were the 8 or 9 required shapes, inside my desk! A miracle, handed to me by the fickle finger of fate (or by the student in the morning class)! I was saved!

Do I feel guilty? No. It's one of my best school-room memories.

By the way, I have been (briefly) a teacher, when I was a graduate student. I doled out "gentleman Cs" to anyone who made any effort whatsoever. As a business executive, I gave glowing recommendations to my former employees, even those who were mediocre workers. Why wouldn't I want them to get good jobs? Why should my responsibility to their unknown possible employers supercede my friendship for them?

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Re: Honor versus Justice

Post by Marvin_Edwards » November 20th, 2020, 1:14 pm

Terrapin Station wrote:
November 20th, 2020, 9:33 am
Marvin_Edwards wrote:
November 20th, 2020, 8:22 am


Then what do you suggest is the relevant sense of "honor" in " honor court"?
Here's a good definition of the relevant sense of "honor:"

"Honor is a matter of carrying out, acting, and living the values of respect, duty, loyalty, selfless service, integrity and personal courage in everything you do"
Cool. That sounds like a military code of honor. The person feels self-respect (honorable) if he gives the appropriate respect to others, performs his duty, is loyal to his country and family, performs a service for others without regard for his self interest, and exhibits courage. If he falls short of these commitments he feels a loss of self-respect (dishonor).

The academic honor code includes not lying, cheating, or stealing. (At BYU it also includes not drinking coffee or tea).

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Re: Honor versus Justice

Post by Sculptor1 » November 21st, 2020, 7:09 am

I think the idea of "honor" is not the same as "honour".
My father. an American, and I were considerably overweight. I suggested that we help each other and enter into a pact whereby we would go on diets to loose proportionately the same weights, with a formula that favoured him, though he had to lose 2lbs for every 1lb I lost, since he excess weight was 3 times mine, he agreed he was on to a good deal. We both understood that losing weight was much easier the fatter you are.
We set out targets (rather modest, I thought), and agreed to pay the other $500 for reaching and sustaining the target for two months. If we both reached the target no one would pay out.
I suggested that we each pay our bet into the hands of a third party, and that person would adjudicate the results with a weigh-in.
"No, that won't be necessary", he said, "We'll use the honor system."
"Oh?", I replied, "what is that?"
"It means we both agree to the terms and offer our own evidence to claim, or disclaim any winnings."
"The honour system.", I repeated.
"Yes", he replied, "the honor system".
Sadly I missed the dropped "u". Not realising what that meant. Thinking that it meant "fulfil (an obligation) or keep (an agreement)." Maybe a British upbringing fosters trust?

So I went on to smash my target and kept going to lose more weight, for several months.
My father only lost a few pounds not even scratching the surface.
"So you lost the best, then, Dad".
"Lucky, it was only done under the honor system!", he replied.

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Re: Honor versus Justice

Post by Marvin_Edwards » November 21st, 2020, 4:40 pm

Ecurb wrote:
November 20th, 2020, 10:37 am
Surely one of the key aspects of government-funded schooling is to enculturate children to become productive citizens. This involves teaching them to read and write, but it also involves teaching them to respect authority, get along peacefully with others, be on time, and spend long periods of each day doing things they'd rather not be doing.
Indeed. I found it helpful to approach each new job with the idea that I would find the best way to do it, better than anyone else. I had seen this movie, "Cheaper by the Dozen" (not the modern version but the original one based on the book), that was about Frank Gilbreth. He was an industrial engineer who studied work processes and redesigned procedures to reduce fatigue and increase efficiency.
Marvin wrote:

Because that's a requirement of their job.
Ecurb wrote:
November 20th, 2020, 10:37 am
Surely you don't think that all job requirements are rights? Does that mean that those guards in concentration camps had a right to gas Jews? How about Plantation Managers during times of slavery? Did they have a right to whip slaves to get more work out of them? How about teachers in the no-so-distant past? Did they have a "right" to beat an education into their pupils with a hickory stick?


Of course not, don't be silly. But in order for things to work well, the student needs to learn and the teacher needs to test the knowledge and skills acquired. This informs the student how well they've done and the school about how well the teacher has done. And it makes the high school degree meaningful.

A lot of stuff we learn in school is quickly forgotten. But if a need arises it can be relearned more quickly than it was the first time.

Then there's Paul Simon's "Kodachrome" lyrics, "When I think back on all the crap I learned in high school, it's a wonder I can think at all. But my lack of education hasn't hurt me none. I can read the writing on the wall".
Ecurb wrote:
November 20th, 2020, 10:37 am
Speaking of rights, did the slaves have a right to try to escape? Did they have a right to shirk their work, if they could get away with it ("Jimmy crack corn, and I don't care, the master's gone away")? If they do have that right, why not students? Aren't students forced to go to school? Aren't rules governing their behavior handed down to them without their consent? Of course the abuse is not as egregious as it is in slavery, but the principles remain the same.


A student might find that approaching high school with a different attitude would make it less like slavery and more like an opportunity.
Marvin wrote:That's tough ****. The student in grammar school, middle school, and high school is a child. It is the responsibility of the parents and the community to educate its children. It is the responsibility of the child to acquire the knowledge and skills needed to function as a self-sufficient adult.

As students learns more about the world and the expectation of adults, they can make their own judgements and express their opinions. But they do not have the responsibility for deciding these matters until they are adults who can attend school board meetings and parent-teacher associations.

Ecurb wrote:
November 20th, 2020, 10:37 am
The responsiilities of the parents and teachers do not confer an obligation on the part of the student. ON what moral principle is the student obliged to follow all of the school's rules? Didn't those slaves on the Armistad kill the slave traders running the ship? Were't they acquitted of murder, when ex-President John Quincy Adams argued their case to the Supreme Court?


Egad. The responsibility of the student is to avail himself of the opportunity to learn. It feels better to do that than to self-indulge notions of slavery.
Ecurb wrote:
November 20th, 2020, 10:37 am
I have one story from my own mediocre scholastic career. In 7th grade (I was 11 years old) we had a big project for math class. We were supposed to make three dimensional geometric shapes, using construction paper, scissors, and tape. I suppose the notion was to teach kids how two dimensions transform into three. I didn't make the shapes. I considered it precisely the kind of busy work that teachers love, and I hated. I also forgot about the project as soon as I left the class.

One day, I came into the class room to hear the teacher cheerfully announce, "OK, class. Everyone get your shapes out and put them on the top of your desk. I'll come around and look at them and mark the project completed."

Naturally, I thought, "Uh oh! Those shapes! I've forgotten all about them." IN order to forstall the inevitable public humiliation, I pretended to rummage around, looking for my shapes, which I knew full well did not exist. I was seated at one of those old-fashioned desks where the top lifts up on hinges. I lifted the top, and Oh Joy! There were the 8 or 9 required shapes, inside my desk! A miracle, handed to me by the fickle finger of fate (or by the student in the morning class)! I was saved!

Do I feel guilty? No. It's one of my best school-room memories.
Congratulations!
Ecurb wrote:
November 20th, 2020, 10:37 am
By the way, I have been (briefly) a teacher, when I was a graduate student. I doled out "gentleman Cs" to anyone who made any effort whatsoever. As a business executive, I gave glowing recommendations to my former employees, even those who were mediocre workers. Why wouldn't I want them to get good jobs? Why should my responsibility to their unknown possible employers supercede my friendship for them?
I hated employee evaluations. I worked as a programmer in a state hospital and they would have us do self-evaluations. To me, it seemed like the supervisors were dodging their responsibility to know enough about what their workers were doing to give them meaningful feedback. But we were considered professionals, and usually knew more than our supervisors about what we were doing.

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Re: Honor versus Justice

Post by Ecurb » November 21st, 2020, 6:14 pm

Marvin_Edwards wrote:
November 21st, 2020, 4:40 pm


Of course not, don't be silly. But in order for things to work well, the student needs to learn and the teacher needs to test the knowledge and skills acquired. This informs the student how well they've done and the school about how well the teacher has done. And it makes the high school degree meaningful.


Certainly most eduacors think this is the case; hence the system. Nonetheless, I think public education might be a bit hide-bound. Who aspires to be a public school teacher? I'll bet it's those kids who like school, who like the grading system, and who, as a result, are going to perpetuate the same system whether or not it's the most effective way to teach.

Is a high school degree really "meaningful"? If it is, I'd suggest it means no more than basic literacy, and (as I said earlier) a willingness to toe the line of the authorities, follow orders, and show up regularly. Of course these qualities are significant to employers, but they don't really involve "academics".
A student might find that approaching high school with a different attitude would make it less like slavery and more like an opportunity. ...Egad. The responsibility of the student is to avail himself of the opportunity to learn. It feels better to do that than to self-indulge notions of slavery.
I suppose. But to me it felt like the repression of opportunity, a structured, dull slog into the future. I was glad to learn, in my own way, and if my standardized tests are a fair measurement of how much I learned, I should have been a straight "A" student.

Besides, my point was not about what the best way to teach involves, but, instead, about the responsibilities of students who are forced to participate. I actually agree that egregious cheating is sometimes dishonorable, but finding cardboard shapes or copying homework to get out of trouble seems like normal kid behavior, and because the kids have no say as to the rules, I think it is morally justifiable.

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Re: Honor versus Justice

Post by Marvin_Edwards » November 21st, 2020, 7:03 pm

Sculptor1 wrote:
November 21st, 2020, 7:09 am
I think the idea of "honor" is not the same as "honour".
My father. an American, and I were considerably overweight. I suggested that we help each other and enter into a pact whereby we would go on diets to loose proportionately the same weights, with a formula that favoured him, though he had to lose 2lbs for every 1lb I lost, since he excess weight was 3 times mine, he agreed he was on to a good deal. We both understood that losing weight was much easier the fatter you are.
We set out targets (rather modest, I thought), and agreed to pay the other $500 for reaching and sustaining the target for two months. If we both reached the target no one would pay out.
I suggested that we each pay our bet into the hands of a third party, and that person would adjudicate the results with a weigh-in.
"No, that won't be necessary", he said, "We'll use the honor system."
"Oh?", I replied, "what is that?"
"It means we both agree to the terms and offer our own evidence to claim, or disclaim any winnings."
"The honour system.", I repeated.
"Yes", he replied, "the honor system".
Sadly I missed the dropped "u". Not realising what that meant. Thinking that it meant "fulfil (an obligation) or keep (an agreement)." Maybe a British upbringing fosters trust?

So I went on to smash my target and kept going to lose more weight, for several months.
My father only lost a few pounds not even scratching the surface.
"So you lost the best, then, Dad".
"Lucky, it was only done under the honor system!", he replied.
Sounds like he didn't honor the agreement. Or perhaps he didn't understand that an honor system means being trusted to do the right thing rather than an opportunity to take advantage of someone's trust and good will. Sorry for your loss.

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