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Teaching Ethics

Volume 16, Issue 2, Fall 2016

Wade Robison
Pages 185-194

Professional Norms

It is unfortunate that it is all too easy to find examples of professional misconduct. Professionals are distinguished from the rest of us, and from each other, by learning the special skills and knowledge essential to the practice of their profession, by coming to think in different and distinct ways, and by taking on a special set of moral relations, including furthering the social purpose for which the state recognizes the profession. A professional can thus go wrong in any of a number of ways, but in criticizing professionals morally, it is often enough that we can appeal to the profession’s norms. No one is entitled to believe whatever they wish regarding ethical matters, and we need not appeal to competing ethical theories to make ethical judgments regarding matters of professional ethics.

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