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The Wounded Prisoner: A Comparative Study on American and Vietnamese Students’ Perceptions of Moral Dilemmas

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Throughout time, both American and Vietnamese educators have sought ways to teach both the complexity of war and the ability to teach contradicting views when presented in moral dilemmas. As the year's pass and political and economic relations between the two countries grow, the exploration of war-related moral dilemmas, which unfolded during the Vietnam War, is openly discussed and encouraged. Despite not directly affected by the war, students from both countries have differing interpretations, expressing an individual and potentially contradicting view and perception when presented in the form of a moral dilemma. This research intended to investigate how American and Vietnamese students’ reasons and reactions to a war-related moral dilemma through a fictional wartime scenario. Integrating the cognitive and affective domains through historical empathy, the study suggested that while both American and Vietnamese often selected morally ‘easy’ or popular choices amongst their peers, some students experienced great difficulty justifying their actions.

Keywords: affective domain; cognitive domain; historical empathy; moral dilemma

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2020

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  • Political Crossroads is a bi-annual, international, refereed journal which, since 1990, publishes critical and empirical scholarship in political science and international relations. Its areas of focus include global security, terrorism, national identity, migration and citizenship, and the politics of resources and trade.
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