Philosophy Research Archives

Volume 10, Issue Supplement, 1984

Microfiche Supplement to Volume 10

David N. James
Pages 1-184

What is Professional Ethics?

After distinguishing professional ethic s from legal and aesthetic norms I argue that a version of rule-utilitarianism is best able to account for professional ethics. The alleged relativism of role-specific duties is a badly posed issue, I argue, since how morality comes to one critically depends upon one's occupation. Alternative theories of the foundations of professional ethics are criticized, both consent theories and the views of those who object to the legalism implicit in a rule-based theory. A mixed theory of virtue is defended to include the most important aspects of an ethic of virtue in the overall rule-utilitarian framework.