Volume 13, Issue 2, Fall 1999
Is Higher Education a Prerequisite of Profession?
The paper presents a definition of profession that I have developed over two decades: A profession is a number of individuals in the same occupation voluntarily organized to earn a living by openly serving a certain moral ideal in a morally permissible way beyond what law, market, and morality would otherwise require. The paper then briefly explains how this definition improves on more conventional ones, especially on those developed using the method of sociology or conceptual analysis. Finally, the paper defends the definition against one important objection, an objection many professionals, even upon reflection, seem inclined to make. The objection is that higher education, though omitted from my definition, is necessary for an occupation to be a profession. The paper argues that, on the contrary, carpenters or plumbers, porters or common laborers, could form a profession lin the full sensei without much change in the preparation of would-be members of their respective occupations.