What’s the Point of Professional Ethical Codes?

JME Blog, 13 June 2017
Author: Iain Brassington
“They can’t be meant as a particularly useful tool for solving deep moral dilemmas: they’re much too blunt for that, often presuppose too much, and tend to bend to suit the law. To think that because the relevant professional code enjoins x it follows that x is permissible or right smacks of a simple appeal to authority, and this flies in the face of what it is to be a moral agent in the first place. But what a professional code of ethics may do is to provide a certain kind of Bolamesque legal defence: if your having done ? attracts a claim that it’s negligent or unreasonable or something like that, being able to point out that your professional body endorses ?-ing will help you out. But professional ethics, and what counts as professional discipline, stretches way beyond that.”
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