The meanings of professional life: Teaching across the health professions

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Most of professional ethics is grounded on the assumption that we can speak meaningfully about particular, insulated professions with aims and goals, that conceptually there exists a clear "inside and outside" to any given profession. Professional ethics has also inherited the two-part assumption from mainstream moral philosophy that we can speak meaningfully about agent-relative versus agent-neutral moral perspectives, and further, that it is only from the agent-neutral perspective that we can truly evaluate our professional moral aims, rules, and practices. Several important changes that have occurred, or are currently taking place, in the structure of the health care professions, challenge those assumptions and signal the need for teachers of professional ethics to rethink the content of what we teach as well as our teaching methods. The changes include: influences and critique from other professions and from those who are served by the health professions, and influences and critique from professionals themselves, including increased activism and dissent from within the professions. The discussion focuses on changes that have occurred in the health-related fields, but insofar as similar changes are occurring in other professions such as law and business, these arguments will have broader conceptual implications for the way we ought to think about professional ethics more generally.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)475-491
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Medicine and Philosophy
Volume27
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2002

Keywords

  • Dissent
  • Meaning
  • Narrative
  • Positivism
  • Professional ethics
  • Teaching

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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