Week 1 Notes for Professional Ethics
Week 1 Notes for Professional Ethics PHI 1120, Professional Ethics
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This 6 page Class Notes was uploaded by Neha Bhagirath on Tuesday May 3, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to PHI 1120, Professional Ethics at Wayne State University taught by Dr. Travis Figg in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 13 views. For similar materials see Professional Ethics in PHIL-Philosophy at Wayne State University.
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Date Created: 05/03/16
Is ethics objective? Subjective/Relative? It is objective because objective facts are actual facts. It is R/S because there are subjective. Relative because people have different ethical beliefs. Objective because there’s a standard that everyone can adhere to. The Professions Bayles There are 3 features to a profession: 1) Needs extensive training 2) The training involves a significant intellectual component (providing advice rather than things) 3) The trained ability provides an important service in society Other things: Usually a process of certification or licensing exists. Many professions need not be officially licensed. It is also usually an organization of members. Also has autonomy of the work (there is an element of autonomy) The ethical problem of the profession is to fulfill the primary service for which it stands while securing the economic interest of its members? A distinction in professional ethics is between consulting and scholarly professions. Consulting professions: ex. Law, medicine, architecture, stock broker, clergy, social workers. They have a fee for service basis with a personal, individual relationship between client and professional. A consulting professional acts primarily in behalf of an individual client Scholarly profession: ex. College teacher, scientific researcher, journalist, technicians, nonconsulting engineers. Usually has many clients at the same time (students) or no personal clients (jobs assigned by superiors in a corporation.) Works for a salary rather than as an entrepreneur who depends on attracting individual clients The differences between scholarly and consulting professionals are crucial in defining the kinds of ethical problems each confronts. Three features for the role of consulting professions: 1) They all provide an important service. These services are important for individuals to realize the values they seek in their personal lives: health, wealth, justice, comfort, safety 2) Not only do the professions serve basic values, but they also have a monopoly over the profession of service. One must be legally certified to practice in many professions. Professionals do not have a right to practice, it is a privilege conferred by the state Right: a sound claim that one be permitted (or assisted( to act in some manner without interference. Privilege: a permission to perform certain acts provided certain acts provided specified conditions are fulfilled. The burden is upon the person obtaining it to demonstrate that he or she has the necessary qualifications. For example, one must pass tests for the privilege of driving a car. 3) None of the professions are subject to much public control. Monopolies such as public utilities that provide essential services have usually been subject to strict public control as to the conditions and types of services provided. In CONTRAST, the professions have claimed and been accorded a large degree of self regulation. The Inner Ring One of the greatest desires of people is to get into the “inner ring.” It can make a man, a not bad person, do bad things. Until you conquer the fear of being an outsider, an outsider you will remain The circle is not the same from the inside as it is from the outside by getting in it, it loses its charm The Professional Client Relationship Ethical models and norms often assume certain facts (ex. About a child’s abilities a model of full equality would not work for young kids because they lack the physical and mental abilities to engage in such a relationship) A model can be inappropriate because they make false empirical assumptions about one or the other parties To develop an ethical model that has the broadest scope, the model should not be based on unusual situations. That distorts normal situations The central issue in the professional client relationship is the allocation of responsibility and authority in decision making who makes what decisions (ex. 3 different types of ethical models of the relationship could be one where the client has more authority and responsibility, vice versa, or they’re equals) The “agency model” exemplifies what has been called the “ideology of advocacy.” This ideology has two principles of conduct: that the lawyer is neutral or detached from the client’s purposes, and that the lawyer is an aggressive partisan of the client working to advance the client’s ends. This ideology is applicable to doctors, architects, engineers, etc. For example, a doctor should not evaluate the moral worth of their patient, but they should work to advance their health. The second part of the ideology can apply to this: an accountant preparing a client’s income tax statement should try to take every plausible deduction on behalf of the client. The problem with the ideology of advocacy is that sometimes devotion to a client’s interests is thought to justify any lawful action advancing the client’s ends, no matter how detrimental the effect on others. A number of considerations indicate limits to a professional’s proper devotion to a client’s interests, and consequently, to a client’s authority in decision making: 1) Professionals have obligations to third persons that limit the extent to which they may act in behalf of client interests 2) 3) Professionals emphasize their independence of judgement. As in, they should use their training and skills to make objective judgements. The agency view ignores this feature. 4) Professionals may accept or reject clients unless in dire need. Professionals must also be ethically free and responsible persons they should not abdicate authority and responsibility in decision making, for their protection and others. The strongest possible claim of supremacy has been suggested that, like the common law doctrine of the merging of the identity of the attorney and client Deontological/Deontology: Some things are right or wrong independent of consequences (about rules what are the rules? They MIGHT involve consequences) Consequentialist/Consequentialism: An action is right just in case it has the best consequences (what’s important in evaluating an action is the consequences of that action) Utilitarianism the best equals the most happiness; goodness is happiness, badness is pain (the best action is the one with the most happiness and least pain) (but it is more complicated than that. You will not just give everyone A’s) Virtue Ethics: Good is a good character (ex. WWJD what would jesus do? We look at the good person to see what they would do good person means they’ll do good things assumption) Bayles: Necessary features of a professional: advanced training, that training has an intellectual component, the professional’s service is beneficial to society Common features but not necessary: Certification, representative organization (ex. The teachers in detroit took sick days and they all left so that the teaching can be better because teaching was not how it should be), would have autonomy (they have enough training to make their own decisions autonomy is when you are selfgoverning. A consequence of this is that it can be harder to govern them.) Types of Models Agency Model Client has most of the authority and responsibility for decisions; the professional is an expert at acting at the direction of the client. Client hires a professional to protect or act for some interest, the professional provides services to meet the client’s goals Contract Model Has no written contract but there is an agreement between the parties that each will provide a service for the other. The authority or responsibility is shared equally. There are mutual obligations and rights. Friendship Model Professionals should be like friends you try to help your client over someone else. Ethical situations arise when there are conflicting obligations obligations to yourself, and to others (professional obligations = obligations to client, obligations to nonclients/society) In a friendship each person is interested in the other’s well being There are some dissimilarities: one, friendship is usually between equals, and second, the professional client relationship is usually in one direction; the professional has a concern for the client’s interests but not vice versa. Professionals also accept clients for a fee, not as a friend. (So Fried has basically described prostitution) The friendship analogy is not needed to justify a professional paying special attention to a client’s interests Paternalist Model Once we acknowledge that the professional is in some way superior to the client, one faces the problem of the proper extent of professional authority and responsibility in decision making (a professional client relationship is like a parent child) Three arguments are often offered to justify paternalism: 1) The agent has superior knowledge as to what is in a person’s best interest 2) The client is incapable of giving a fully free and informed consent 3) A person will later come to agree that the decision was correct To decide whether these justifications support viewing the professionalclient relationship as paternalistic: 1) A person may not wish to bother making decisions because the differences involved are trivial (like the brand of paper clips you buy) 2) The decisions might require knowledge of expertise a person does not possess 3) A person might allow others to make judgements if he or she is or will be mentally incompetent Reasonable persons would arrow others to make decisions for them when they lack the capacity to make reasonable judgement is the first argument for paternalism. They DO need professionals to make WISE decisions When professionalclient relationships are conducted on the paternalistic model, the client outcomes are not as good as when the client has a more active role (this model sacrifices client freedom and autonomy and the client’s values and interests are sacrificed) Fiduciary Model (Bayles likes this best). Model is based on trust and consent Both parties are responsible and their judgment is given consideration. Because one party is in a more advantageous position, he or she has special obligations to the other. The weaker party depends upon the other in ways in which the other does not and so must TRUST the stronger party In this model, a client has more authority and responsibility in decision making than in the paternalistic model The professional decides the course of action Client consent and involvement are not necessary when: 1) The matter is a technical one 2) The value effect is not significant The Inner Ring Group of people in an organization that have power and status independent of the official hierarchy Those “in the know” Desire to enter the Inner Ring is a big motivator It will/can make you a scoundrel The desire can’t be satisfied The Inner Ring is independent of your job and if you avoid the temptation to enter the inner ring then you will become good at your job and will earn respect from others who are good at their job. The IR is in the ethics book because it is to forewarn us about this structure in organizations > The IR often leads to unethical behaviour. Since we have more power as professionals, we can cause more harm in the ring. 2 Is an assassin a profession? No Day 2 Reading The Ethics of Sales Carson Deception is intentionally causing someone to have false beliefs. This implies success in causing others to have false beliefs, but lying is often unsuccessful in causing deception Lying is a false statement intended to deceive others Another difference is that while a lie must be a false statement, deception does not have to involve false statements. True statements can be deceptive and so deception does not mean lying (withholding info is not deception.) Actively concealing info is deception According to the principle of “caveat emptor,” sellers are not required to inform prospective buyers about the properties of the goods they sell. It is the buyer’s responsibility to check that. Under the Uniform Commercial Code of 1968 in the USA, the code provides that all factual statements about the goods being sold are warranties, meaning that sales are not valid or legally enforceable if the seller makes false statements about the goods they are selling. Implied warranties are a limitation on the “caveat emptor” principle. The American legal system has developed “implied warranties” as opposed to explicit warranties. Any transaction carries with it the following implied warranties: 1)The seller owns the goods they are selling 2)The goods are “merchantable” (suitable for the purpose for which they’re sold) Holley’s Theory Based on the concept of a voluntary of mutually beneficial market exchange He says that a voluntary exchange occurs only if the following are met: 1) Both buyer and seller understand what they’re giving up and what they’re receiving 2) Neither buyer nor seller is compelled to enter into the exchange because of coercion, restricted alternatives, or other constraints on the ability to choose 3) Both buyer and seller are able at the time of the exchange to make rational judgements about costs and benefits According to Holley, caveat emptor is not acceptable as a moral principle, because customers often lack info necessary for an acceptable exchange. In such cases, salespeople are obligated to give info to the buyer Holley’s theory is not always right about things (ex. If you wanna buy a house in a small town, and only one house is within your price range, you cannot do it because #2 is not met. But this is Holley’s thing and it won’t work.) A More Plausible Theory about the Ethics of Sales Salespeople should have the following moral duties when regarding the disclosure of info when dealing with rational adult consumers: 1) Salespeople should give buyers safety warnings about the goods they sell 2) Salespeople should not lie or deceive customers 3) Salespeople should answer questions to the extent of their knowledge and not evade questions or withhold info. They are justified in refusing to answer questions that would require them to reveal info about what their competitors sell 4) Salespeople should not try to steer customers towards purchases they they have reason to think will prove harmful to the customer (or financial harm) A prima facie duty is one’s actual duty (actual duty in the absence of conflicting duties of greater or equal importance Some prima facie duties of salespeople (that are not completely justifiable): 1) They should not sell goods they think will harm their customer without telling them why they think that (if they think the customer doesn’t know) 2) They should not sell items they know are defective or of poor quality without alerting customers to this (unless the customer is expected to know about the poor quality already) The Golden Rule: Is a consistency principle. Consistency requires that if you think it would be morally permissible for someone to do a certain act to another person, then you must consent to someone else doing the same act to you in relevantly similar circumstances Truth in the Marketplace Leiser Advertising and how the marketers are not completely truthful with the consumers Special Professional Morality and the Duty of Veracity Ellin The most fundamental question for professional ethics are there special rules which govern professionals in their professional conduct? The conflicts between ordinary and special morality can be adjudicated by moral reasoning based on large moral considerations. This view is called “The priority of ordinary reflective morality” it gives to ordinary morality a double function. First, ordinary reflective morality imposes the rules and standards which govern all of us in our ordinary, non special life encounters. Second, ordinary reflective morality plays an adjudicating role, resolving apparent conflicts between obligations in ordinary contexts and those in special contexts, such as those of professional life First theory of special professional morality: A professional may think they have special rules that govern them, and which impose duties inconsistent with the duties imposed on everybody in ordinary life. But the justification for imposing special duties is that there will be better moral consequences. Since every apparent conflict between ordinary and special morality can can resolved into a conflict within ordinary morality itself, the professional faces no greater moral difficulties than anybody else Second theory of special professional morality there are moral obligations which derive not from ordinary morality but from the nature of the professions. This is the “parallel view,” because, according to it, professional morality is parallel with, not subordinate to, ordinary morality, and professionals are faced with dilemmas that are different than ordinary people. Some things may be right in ordinary morality, but not in professional morality Professional Responsibility: Just Following the Rules? Davis The seven different interpretations to “following the rules”: 1) Blind obedience (ex. Banging head off cabinet if someone says to use your head), strict obedience (we allow our own judgement to be short circuited by someone else’s, like in the military) 2) Malicious obedience (when you use the rules and follow them without thinking or the outcome when it occurs in defense of conduct. Ex. workers on strike but going by the book so much that it causes the employer grief. It is hoping that literalness will make damage for the employer) There are forms of unconscious failure: 3)Negligent obedience a failure to exercise due care in following the relevant rules, whether the failure can give harm to others or not. The failure does not arise in an inability to act as one should that is stupid obedience 4)Accidental obedience failure to follow the rule for the right reason, that is, because one has understood it properly 5)Stupid obedience Differ from negligent only in the case of failure. (ex. Reading the code of ethics as if each rule were independent of each other) 6)Interpretive obedience Just following the rules
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