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Document Details :
Title: Professional Ethics and Collective Professional Autonomy
Subtitle: A Conceptual Analysis
Author(s): KASHER, Asa
Journal: Ethical Perspectives
Volume: 12 Issue: 1 Date: March 2005
In the first section, it is argued that a professional activity involves systematic knowledge and proficiency, a form of continuous improvement of the related bodies of knowledge and proficiency, as well as two levels of understanding: a local one, which is the ability to justify and explain professional acts, and a global one, which involves a conception of the whole profession and its ethical principles. The second section is devoted to a conceptual analysis of professional ethics. It is argued that it consists of a general conception of professionality, a particular conception of the profession under consideration, and a conception of the normative requirements made by the societal envelope of the professional activity, in particular basic norms of democracy. The third section draws conclusions with respect to the nature and limits of professional autonomy. It is shown that such autonomy is much more restricted than its apparent extent. Examples from engineering and other professions are provided.