Utilitarianism and the evolution of ecological ethics

Science and Engineering Ethics 14 (4):551-573 (2008)
R.M. Hare’s two-level utilitarianism provides a useful framework for understanding the evolution of codes of professional ethics. From a Harean perspective, the codes reflect both the fact that members of various professions face special kinds of ethically charged situations in the normal course of their work, and the need for people in special roles to acquire various habits of thought and action. This highlights the role of virtue in professional ethics and provides guidance to professional societies when considering modifications to their codes. From a Harean perspective, a professional society should ask both “Are there kinds of situations that members of this profession will normally encounter which members of other professions and/or the general public will not?” and “What habits of thought and action would it be good for individuals encountering such situations to have?”.
Keywords Ethics  Utilitarianism  R.M. Hare  Professional ethics  Codes of ethics
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DOI 10.1007/s11948-008-9102-5
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Peter Singer (1993). Practical Ethics. Cambridge University Press.
Tom Regan (2009). The Case for Animal Rights. In Steven M. Cahn (ed.), Noûs. Oxford University Press 425-434.
Immanuel Kant (2007). Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals. In Elizabeth Schmidt Radcliffe, Richard McCarty, Fritz Allhoff & Anand Vaidya (eds.), Late Modern Philosophy: Essential Readings with Commentary. Blackwell Pub. Ltd.

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