What should be taught in courses on social ethics?

Research in Ethical Issues in Organisations 24:77-97 (2021)
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The purpose of this article is to discuss the concept and the content of courses on “social ethics”. I will present a dilemma that arises in the design of such courses. On the one hand, they may present versions of “applied ethics”; that is, courses in which moral theories are applied to moral and social problems. On the other hand, they may present generalised forms of “occupational ethics”, usually professional ethics, with some business ethics added to expand the range of the course. Is there, then, not some middle ground that is distinctively designated by the term “social ethics”? I will argue that there is such a ground. I will describe that ground as the ethics of “social practices”. I will then illustrate how this approach to the teaching of ethics may be carried out in five domains of social practice: professional ethics, commercial ethics, corporate ethics, governmental ethics, and ethics in the voluntary sector. My aim is to show that “social ethics” courses can have a clear rationale and systematic content.



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Alan Tapper
Curtin University, Western Australia

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References found in this work

Principles of Biomedical Ethics.Tom L. Beauchamp - 1979 - New York: Oxford University Press.
After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory.Alasdair C. MacIntyre - 1983 - University of Notre Dame Press.
Virtue at Work: Ethics for Individuals, Managers, and Organizations.Geoff Moore - 2017 - Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press.
Collective responsibility.Joel Feinberg - 1968 - Journal of Philosophy 65 (21):674-688.
Specifying norms as a way to resolve concrete ethical problems.Henry S. Richardson - 1990 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 19 (4):279-310.

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