The goal of the Vanderbilt University Center for Ethics is to foster critical reflection, wide understanding, and types of engagement that encourage people with different ways of living and learning to examine their own values as well as those of others and to live constructively and wisely together. Its purpose is to promote increased attention to the ethical issues and problems that people face in their everyday and professional lives.
The words "ethics" and "ethical" refer broadly to ways that people's lives are organized; specifically they refer to the many values, principles, rules, guidelines and purposes that define traditions, communities and disciplines. In this light, the Center aims to provide the Vanderbilt community and its local, national, and international communities with opportunities to develop a greater range of ethical awareness, an intensification of ethical sensibility and imaginative strategies for responding to ethical problems and conflicts. Ethical awareness and sensibility mean perceptiveness regarding different perspectives and values that guide one's own and other people's actions and the ability to understand and constructively to question them.
The Center is committed to helping identify and appreciate the values that guide individuals' actions and that are formative of the different traditions, communities, and disciplines in which people encounter each other. It is also committed to supporting the evaluation of values and their consequences for the quality of individual and communal lives.