Normative Revisionism about Student Cheating

Journal of Academic Ethics 19 (1):1-23 (2021)


This paper considers characteristic views advanced in the past fifteen years that may be considered relatively sympathetic to student practices of cheating on graded assignments or exams. We detect and analyze typical fallacies that are recurrent in articles that promote a revisionist view of cheating as morally permissible. We offer a general, deontological argument that cheating is immoral. The efforts to justify student cheating take several forms. For example, it has been argued that cheating may be tolerated if the student did not intend to cheat, perhaps because of a failure to understand the normal rules or expected procedures. We also argue that student collaboration in graded work constitutes cheating even if the instructor condones such collaboration. In a similar vein, we address the view that student copying is cheating even if the instructor alters the rules to allow such copying. This moral view can be applied to any cheating behavior, we argue. As a specific example, we demonstrate how it can be applied to the pedagogical recommendation that instructors should encourage their students to cheat in order to cultivate student skills in the area of cyber security. We also address the view that student cheating can be justified by situations in which the student believes that he/she is being subjected to an unfair or unethical overall learning environment.

Download options


    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 72,879

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library


Added to PP

16 (#672,105)

6 months
1 (#386,001)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Odysseus Makridis
Brandeis University (PhD)

References found in this work

Philosophical Investigations.Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein - 1953 - New York, NY, USA: Wiley-Blackwell.
Philosophical investigations.Ludwig Wittgenstein & G. E. M. Anscombe - 1953 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 161:124-124.
Modern Moral Philosophy.G. E. M. Anscombe - 1958 - Philosophy 33 (124):1 - 19.

View all 15 references / Add more references

Similar books and articles

Student Perceptions of Faculty Use of Cheating Deterrents.Robert Liebler - 2012 - Journal of Academic Ethics 10 (4):327-333.