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Between Personality Development and Skills Acquisition: Ethics for Soldiers

According to a definition by social ethicist Thomas Bohrmann, the ethical field referred to as military professional ethics aims to investigate ethical principles – such as human dignity and justice – that are relevant to society as a whole and prioritised in the military domain, and to investigate them under the conditions prevalent in the military as a particular sphere of action and experience. 

What does this means for ethical education in the armed forces?

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Photo: KS/Doreen Bierdel 


A religiously founded peace ethics still has contemporary relevance as the normative basis for security policy and military action
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Personality-building formats based on understanding must not be neglected in professional ethics teaching
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Ethical reflection can prevent traumas and deadly mistakes
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Different facets of ethical education require different forms of teaching
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Ethical education is immanent in Innere Führung.
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Moral fitness requires continuous, adequate and scientifically based training
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Freedom for personality-building is not a “regulatory gap” but a necessity
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The Protestant militairy chaplaincy remains a competent partner for ethical education in the Bundeswehr
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Special: Lebenskundlicher Unterricht: "Character Guidance Training" in Practice

An edition about ethical education in the German armed forces would be incomplete without incorporating the views of those responsible for teaching “Lebenskundlicher Unterricht (LKU)”. We asked three representatives of the ­Protestant and Catholic military chaplaincies key questions about their ­understanding of ethical education and their experiences in and with LKU. They were free to choose how to respond to the questions and present their views on their role, their methods and the challenges of the educational format.