This paper proposes laying the groundwork for principled moral reasoning as a seminal goal of ethics interventions in higher education, and on this basis, makes a case for educating future specialists and professionals with a foundation in philosophical ethics. Identification of such a seminal goal is warranted by (1) the progressive dissociation of scientific practice and ethical deliberation since the onset of a problematic relationship between science and ethics around the mid-19th century, and (2) the extensive mistrust of integrating ethics in science and engineering curricula beyond its "applied," "practical," or "professional" implications. Although calls by international scientific and educational bodies to strengthen ethics teaching in scientific education over the past quarter century have brought about a notion of combining competence in a certain field with competence in ethics, this is neither entrenched in the academic community, nor fleshed out as regards its core or instruments to realize it. The legitimate goals of ethics teaching in higher education, almost settled since the 1980s, can be subsumed under the proposed seminal goal, and the latter also would safeguard content and methods of ethics interventions against the intrusion of indoctrinative approaches. In this paper, derivation of the proposed seminal goal rests on an interpretation of the Kohlbergian cognitive-developmental conception of moral adulthood consisting in autonomous principled moral reasoning. This interpretation involves, based on Kant's conception of the virtuous person, integrating questions about the "good life" into the domain of principled reasoning.