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Ethics and Professionalism

By John Kultgen

Publication Year: 1988

John Kultgen explores the ways morality and professional ideals are connected. In assessing the moral impact of professionalism in our society, he examines both the structure and organization of occupations and the ideals and ideology associated with professions.

Differing from standard treatments of professional ethics, Ethics and Professionalism recognizes that it is the practices within the professions that determine whether rules and ideals are used as masks for self-interest or for genuinely moral purposes.

Published by: University of Pennsylvania Press

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Preface

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pp. ix-xii

In this work I take a hard look at professionalism and its effect on the moral life of our society. I examine particular practices in the professions and the rules that are proposed to govern them (for example, prohibiting professional paternalism and enjoining confidentiality); and I make suggestions about these practices...

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1. Introduction

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pp. 3-15

Is it a moral obligation to be as professional as possible in one's work? And is it a mark of professionalism to act morally? Or do professionalism and morality have nothing to do with one...

PART I: NORMATIVE CONSIDERATIONS

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2. Ethical Premises

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pp. 19-37

In this chapter, concepts from current ethical theory will beutilized to evaluate professional practices, but points of theory will not be argued. The chapter will simply layout premises for the analysis. The demonstration of their validity will be indirect,...

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3. Utopian Vision and Piecemeal Reform

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pp. 38-54

The considerations of the previous chapter were advanced from the standpoint of the agent facing moral choices. The question was, what facts and norms should an individual take into consideration in deciding what to do on a specific occasion under...

PART II: MODELS OF PROFESSIONS

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4. Sociological Theories

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pp. 57-71

My barber displays a plaque awarded to him by Redken Laboratories for training in the use and merchandising of its products. It bears the motto "Professionalism through Science and Education." He is proud to be identified as a professional and Redken assures him that he is one. Clearly, however, his idea of professions...

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5. The Functionalist Model

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pp. 72-98

The last chapter listed some twenty statements by a wide range of authors stating central characteristics of professions. To bring this material into order, the characteristics will be sorted into three categories: substantive, pertaining to the nature of professional work; structural, pertaining to the organization of...

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6. The Cloak of Ideology

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pp. 99-119

The reader will have sensed the reek of apology, the miasma of moral complacency, hovering over the functionalist model. In explicating the model, we have not allowed ourselves to be trammelled by critical scruples. We have taken the professions of the professions at face value and constructed the most sympathetic picture we could of their processes and practices. The aim was to...

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7. The Subscapular Reality

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pp. 120-153

Typifications are avowed simplifications and idealizations. The functionalist model is proposed as an approximation of actual occupations and an ideal toward which they strive. The criticism of the model is that professions do not approximate it closely enough nor strive hard enough to achieve it for it to be a typification...

PART III: STRUCTURAL CHANGE

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8. Charters, Contracts, and Covenants

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pp. 157-180

We now turn to the normative issues with which this study is primarily concerned. In this chapter and the next, we examine elements in the structure and ideology of professions that ought to be preserved and possibilities of change in those that ought to be reformed. In the following chapter we will examine professional codes in two lights, as instruments of the institutions discussed in prior chapters and as expressions of ethical norms,...

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9. Reconstitution of Institutions

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pp. 181-208

The social ideal of maximum welfare fairly distributed will not be brought into being by preachments. What are needed are not voices in the wilderness but ways to make them heeded in the workshop and marketplace. It is not enough, therefore, to articulate the professional ideal. People must be induced to pursue it,...

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10. Professional Codes

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pp. 209-251

The primary reason to cut through the screen of ideology for a realistic view of the dynamics of professional life and to institute reforms in its institutional framework is to foster the observance of the professional ethic. But is there a professional ethic in any sense of the word? The term 'professional ethics' has several meanings. It refers, first, to the norms required by the moral point...

PART IV: THE PROFESSIONAL IDEAL

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11. Ideals and Character

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pp. 255-273

Imagine a tribe of people living in a habitable but harsh environment. A traveler brings word of an idyllic uninhabited land not many miles away but guarded by a high and perilous mountain ridge. It can be reached by scaling the mountains or an arduous journey up one long river and down another. The tribe debate whether to emigrate. If they try the mountains and fail, they will be left in desperate straits. The river route is so long they would...

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12. Paternalism and Client Autonomy

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pp. 274-306

The ideal of dedication to proficient service for all in need asks professionals to transcend self-interest. Under favorable conditions, which society should provide, their own interests will be served fairly in the course of serving others; but the needs of clients, employers and the public determine the way they do their work, not their own needs and certainly not their wants. The...

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13. The Pedagogical Imperative

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pp. 307-345

The obligation to serve all in need clashes head on with respect for client autonomy when clients do not consent to intervention in their lives, yet lack the power or rationality to care for themselves. When vital interests are at stake, paternalism is an option. Something is lost whatever the decision. Therefore, it is an obligation of the professions to minimize occasions when it is...

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14. Professionalism Sans Professions

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pp. 346-372

The burden of this part of our discussion has been to establish the priority of ideals over rules in professional ethics and to gather materials to articulate the professional ideal. Rules and the institutional structures that implement them are important, but since one function is to provide an environment for the ideal,...

Appendix

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pp. 373-374

Bibliography

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pp. 375-383

Index of Names

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pp. 385-387

Index of Subjects

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pp. 389-394


E-ISBN-13: 9780812202540
Print-ISBN-13: 9780812212631

Page Count: 408
Publication Year: 1988

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  • Professional ethics.
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