Prior to undertaking a moral evaluation of the act of bullying students will gradually enter the
challenging field of ethics by first instructing students in order that they are clearly able to distinguish
between descriptive , normative and meta-ethics, distinctions that are essential to addressing the
crucial matter of ethical relativism versus ethical objectivism. All too often students come to philosophy
with the preconceived notion that values are relative. This notion needs to be dispelled before one can
legitimately entertain any objective evaluation of bullying or any other human act or practice. A critical
look at both forms of relativism, cultural relativism and ethical subjectivism must be undertaken to
dispel the same. Presuming that rational argumentation is able to put relativism to rest, an exploration
of objective ethical theories, that is, theories that reject relativism in their contention that there is an
objective basis to value or morality. Both teleological and deontological theories will be introduced in
terms of their criterion of moral evaluation and principles and will then be critiqued.
Subsequent to critiquing the theories, the act of bullying will be evaluated from a moral point of view
through the application of the principles of Mill’s utilitarianism, Rawl’s contractarianism, and Kant’s
ethics of duty. Confident that the conclusion that can be drawn from applying the principles of major
traditional ethical theories to the act of bullying is a resounding condemnation of bullying, a rationale
has been laid for the contention that it can no longer be viewed as a rite of passage having little or no
moral significance. Instead, categorically, it must be regarded as an objectively unethical or immoral act
imposing moral responsibilities on all those it touches; the bully, the bullied and the bystander; those
moral responsibilities will be explored and expanded upon.
Aristotle’s virtue ethics and its...