Modern ethics is a rapidly growing and extremely popular in the humanities science field of knowledge. It can be no exaggeration to say that ethical themes and its implications for social theory have become the main intellectual line in modern Western philosophy. This situation in the literature has been called "Ethical turn". But, in addition to deep theoretical reflections, modern ethics has one essential feature: it has become fundamentally problematic. It revolves around the most difficult, conflict situations of our life, accompanying the daily existence of man. Proceeding from this, it can be argued that in our day ethics as knowledge and as practice, wishing to establish the most correct relations between people, operates in three large dimensions: in the conditions of the professional community, in the conditions of joint activity of people of different professions and statuses and in the situation of public discussion of the most acute moral dilemmas of social practice, arising as a conflict of the first two ways of existence with the moral dignity of man. Hence, three major branches of modern ethical theory emerge: professional, corporate and applied ethics.


Features of Professional Ethics

Title professional ethics speaks for itself. It deals with practices designed to solve the moral problems that arise in a particular profession. Here we can distinguish three circles of such problems. The first is connected with the necessity of concretization of universal moral norms with reference to the conditions of professional activity. For example, the status of a serviceman or a law enforcement officer implies their right to use violence, which can not be unlimited. Similarly, a journalist who has access to socially dangerous information has the right to hide or distort it, but to what extent is this right permissible in terms of the public good and how to avoid abuse? The measure and scope of such deviations from the generally accepted ideas about morality is designed to develop this kind of ethics. Secondly, she considers the requirements existing within the profession and linking their carriers with special, business relationships. Thirdly, she discusses the correspondence between the values ​​of the profession and the interests of the society itself, and in this perspective goes to the problem of the correlation of social responsibility and professional duty.

Researchers note that professional ethics is the oldest of all three directions. Traditionally it is believed that the first set of professional rules was made by the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates (460-370 BC), with which the separation of medicine into a separate science is associated. For the sake of justice, it should be noted that he did not formulate the oath of a doctor, but rather generalized the various vows that were given by the Greek priests of the god of healing Asclepius. This oath became the prototype of numerous codes of doctors existing in different countries. Further, the history of professional ethics is traced as unifying documents, charters and vows of various corporations. So, the trade unions were strong enough in Ancient Rome. In the Middle Ages, the statutes and codes of handicraft shops, monastic communities, as well as knightly orders, attract attention. The latter are perhaps the most revealing in this respect, since they emphasize the exceptional, divine significance of their ministry. It is no accident that the authorship of the statute and the oath of the very first Knights Templar Order (1118) belongs to the famous medieval philosopher Bernard of Clairvaux (1091-1153). However, the widespread dissemination of codes of professional ethics began in the second half of the 20th century, when professionalism began to be considered one of the highest values ​​of social practice. Accordingly, there was a theoretical reflection on this phenomenon.

What are the most important features of professional ethics? First, it is expressed in the form of requirements addressed to representatives of the dainty profession. Hence its normative image, embodied in the form of beautifully formulated codes of declarations. As a rule, they are small documents that contain the call to correspond to the high vocation of the profession. The appearance of these documents shows that the bearers of the profession began to realize themselves as a single community pursuing certain goals and meeting high social standards.

Secondly, the documents on professional ethics are filled with the conviction that the values ​​they profess are quite obvious and follow from a simple analysis of the activities of the most prominent representatives of this kind of activity. It can not be otherwise, for the codes themselves are in the style of a message to people who have been given the great honor to engage in such a meaningful public service. From here we can often read about the principles of responsibility, objectivity, high competence, openness to criticism, goodwill, philanthropy, indifference, the need for continuous improvement of professional skills. Nowhere is it possible to decipher these values, for it seems that they are intuitively understood by every member of society. In addition to them, one can always find references to what is a professional evil, and can not be tolerated in terms of these values. For example, refusal to provide assistance, use of official position, non-observance of professional secrecy, substitution of competence with personal opinion, etc.

With the previous circumstance another important feature of the professional understanding of morals is connected. This style of ethics attaches the highest status to the activity regulated by it. A profession whose values ​​it is called upon to protect - a doctor, a scientist, a teacher, a lawyer - is recognized as the most exalted of all, and its representatives themselves are the elite of society. So, in the already mentioned numerous codes of behavior of doctors the thought was traced that they are called not only to fight with death, but also know the secrets of a healthy lifestyle. In some particularly radical cases, the profession is recognized as the standard of morality, for it corresponds to the pattern of sacrifice, selflessness and contributes to the prosperity of society.

The next feature of professional ethics concerns the problem of the nature of regulation of activity and the authority behind it. Of course, the professional community is considered to be the authority, and the most respected representatives, who will be given such high confidence, can speak on its behalf. From this context it becomes obvious that both the investigation and the sanctions are also the business of the community itself. His court and verdict is a decision of a panel of professionals against those who misunderstood their high mission, used their status to the detriment of the community and thereby erased themselves from it. Based on these guidelines, it is impossible to imagine that ethical control was carried out by outside observers. As you know, the professional environment is extremely sensitive to all forms of external regulation.

The nature of the sanctions provided for by professional ethics also follows from the notion of the special status of this type of activity. If a person occupies such a high position in society, then the requirements for him must be the highest. Virtually no code of professional ethics is complete without specifying the sanctions applied to offenders. The profession is proud of its social importance, therefore it is ready to exclude from its sphere apostates. As a rule, sanctions are ranked: from announcing a comment on behalf of the board of authorized persons to depriving them of their professional status. Mandatory in the section of sanctions refers to other measures of influence, other than ethical - legislative or administrative. This once again emphasizes the social role of the profession and the interest of the society itself in its development. Accordingly, the codes necessarily contain a list of possible violations. And just as in the case of the main values ​​of professionalism, their meaning should be intuitively clear to the representative of each particular occupation.

Based on all that has been said, the tasks of professional ethics become apparent. For the community behind it, it is important not to lose your status, to prove public importance, to meet the challenges of rapidly changing conditions, to strengthen your own cohesion, to develop common standards for joint activities and to protect yourself from the claims of other spheres of professional competence. In this regard, it is worth noting that in our days, the most active in this area are mostly young professions, which is very important to prove their right to exist.

Nevertheless, this kind of ethical theory and practice has some drawbacks. From the first glance it is possible to note its closed, narrow character, trust only in its own authority in the implementation of the moral assessment, which leads to unreasonable ambitions in dealing with acute conflict situations. Professional environment - the element is fundamentally conservative; traditions and foundations play a huge role in it. This is good when it comes to continuity and development, for example, scientific schools, but is it enough to build ethical regulation in the modern world only on traditions and customs? In addition, the moral consciousness can not agree with the fact that the main value of any social practice is professionalism. If, in the sphere of concrete activity, it became necessary to discuss the emerging moral problems, this means that the usual notions of professional duty are not enough for its normal functioning. The ratio of professionalism and morality is one of the most popular topics in the philosophy of the 20th century. The result of reflection can be recognized as the idea that, in comparison with the eternal moral values, the essence of professionalism can not be recognized as obvious and unchanged.

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