a) The chapter on ethics engages in a systematic approach to basic normative theories (utilitarianism, Kantian deontology, Neo-Aristotelian virtue ethics), as well as to a few related metaethical queries and to methodological issues. The main purposes of the discussion are to defend the possibility and the authority of ethics against sceptical, relativist and nihilist attempts at debunking its claims and to elaborate a synthesis of consequentialist and deontological principles with elements of virtue ethics. New textbooks also expand on the study of debates in applied ethics, especially bioethics, environmental ethics, computer ethics and business ethics. Moreover, the chapter on political philosophy lays emphasis on questions involving ethical concerns, such as respect for human rights, the limits of freedom of expression, tensions in the pursuit of freedom and equality in contemporary liberal democracies, the core ideas in Rawls’ theory of justice, the challenge of multiculturalism, etc. Students are provided with a variety of philosophical and other texts and are encouraged to examine actual dilemmas in private and public life, also drawing on literature and film as sources of examples and thought experiments.
b) Christianity and the modern world is the title covering central tenets of Christian ethics as they can be applied to contemporary quandaries. There are three main thematic areas examined in the course, including the relations between religion and science (ethics of technology, biotechnology and genetics, ecological ethics), social ethics (world poverty, work ethics, loneliness in the modern world, the idea of a Christian revolution) and a global ethical vision for humanity (the quest for peace, responsibility for justice, the pursuit of happiness, hope for the moral transformation of the world).
c) In courses of Ancient Greek language and culture, offered at all grades of the upper division of high school, students following the humanistic orientation (which prepares them for the state entrance exams to University departments in the Humanities and in the Social Sciences) come across ethical issues in various Greek texts, such as parts of Plato’s dialogues and of tragedies by Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides. At the third grade, they have a chance to study parts of Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics. Thus, they focus on topics such as happiness/flourishing, ethical virtues and their relations to intellectual virtues and friendship.
There are also other courses such as sociology (which was until recently a mandatory course for all orientations at the third grade), civic education, courses of Modern Greek and some elective courses, providing occasions for ethical discussions. Students are also encouraged to form debate societies and to participate in national and international debate tournaments, which help them develop their reasoning and argumentative skills in dealing with moral dilemmas.