Philosophy Question

Professional Ethics Fall 2020


For the first paper, you will explore professional ethical responsibility, in terms of your profession’s code of ethics and the ethics for experts that we examine in class. That is, you will need to be able to articulate a defensible conception of ethical professional expertise (referencing key readings from class) and how it relates to your profession’s sense of ethical responsibility, drawing on a relevant professional code of ethics.

For the focus of the essay, you should construct an argument in answer to the following question (set in the context of your own potential future profession:

What should be required to be an ethical expert, especially in [insert potential future profession here]?

To answer this question, you will at minimum need to do the following:

1. Argue (giving supported reasons) that your future career can be identified as a profession.

2. Summarize and explain the main focus of your profession’s code of ethics (supported through

reference to specific provisions of that code).

3. Argue to what extent you feel that your code of ethics provides an adequate basis for being an ethical

expert. That is, to what extent is the code itself adequate, and to what extent is the code compatible with other criteria used to determine the ethical responsibility of an expert? To answer the first question, you need to engage with Davis’s argument and show examples of interpretation in your analysis. For the second, you should engage with either Hardwig or Elliot, or both. You can also explore other readings (from in class and from outside research) to compose your argument. Be sure to use relevant concepts in your analysis, including ideas like rational deference, trust, self- determination, and interpretative obedience.

4. Employ specific kinds of reasons, like those from the “Basic Points about Argument” (e.g., hypothetical examples, analogies, definitions, appeals to authority, preemptive critiques), in order to strengthen your overall presentation. A strong argument will, at the very least, make appeals to appropriate authorities, employ a hypothetical example drawn from the specific work of your stated future profession, and address potential critiques of the position you take.

Importantly, I want you to ARGUE, essentially, that you have a strong sense of what it means to be a professional, the roles professionals play in society, the ethical responsibilities inherent in those roles, and the complexities that experts must at least acknowledge with regard to expert decision making. Your argument must include support for the claims that you make – such support MUST include quotations/citations from the relevant works (which include, at minimum, Bayles, Davis, Hardwig, and your professional code of ethics). If you want to claim that a particular expert acted in a particular way, give a quotation from the text that indicates that you are correct (it could be something the expert actually said, or it could be a claim the authors make about the expert). Arguments lacking relevant support will not be strong enough to earn a passing grade.

Thesis Statement and Structure

Your paper must have a thesis statement that is presented at the end of the first paragraph. EVERY body paragraph must have a topic sentence that indicates what you will be presenting in that

paragraph. Additionally, you need:

  • APA formatting (for heading, spacing, margins, page numbers, etc.) – be sure to include a content- specific title (not “Essay 1” but rather something reflective of the content of the essay – be creative)
  • Works cited page (see above)
  • Appropriate reference to relevant works, including quotations and citations
  • Should be 4-6 double-spaced, type-written pages (around 1000 words

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