Theory and Practice
SOME YOUNG PEOPLE are drawn toward ethical discussions. Others are bored by a careful review of assumptions and meticulous arguments demonstrating why some conclusion is justified. Those in the latter group are far more interested in doing the right thing than in being able to explain persuasively why it is the right thing to do.
Without getting too theoretical, consider a few practical issues that young adults have to face in their latter teens and in their twenties. Let’s return to hooking-up. There are two basic options – go with the flow or resist. Reactions can be ginger or robust, but resistance or acquiescence are the alternatives.
Think of Dave as a typical young decision maker. He may say hooking-up depends on his mood, but even Dave knows enough never to say that to anyone but his best friend. It makes him sound like a complete jerk. Most young women and men would like to offer some reason why they do what they do. It could simply be: “Everyone does it”—that perennial lame favorite that sends every parent in the world over the edge. But, as lame as it is, at least it is a reason. And at this point we are content to emphasize the need for a reason or two for action— regardless of how persuasive it might be. We’ll get to strong reasons for resisting actions a bit later.