Professional Ethics is now acknowledged as a field of study in its own right. Much of its recent development has resulted from rethinking traditional medical ethics in the light of new moral problems arising out of advances in medical science and technology. Applied philosophers, ethicists and lawyers have devoted considerable energy to exploring the dilemmas emerging from modern healthcare practices and their effects on the practitioner-patient relationship.
But the point can be generalized. Even in healthcare, ethical problems are not confined to medical practitioners. Beyond healthcare, other groups are increasingly thinking critically about the kind of service they offer and about the nature of the relationship between provider and recipient. In many areas of life social, political and technological changes have challenged traditional ideas of practice.
The Professional Ethics series seeks to examine ethical issues in the professions and related areas both critically and constructively. Individual volumes address issues relevant to all professional groups, such as the nature of a profession and the function and value of codes of ethics. Other volumes examine issues relevant to particular professions, including those which have hitherto received little attention, such as accountancy, general practice and health care management.
It is particularly demanding to reflect upon the ethics of one's own profession, but this volume attempts to do just that. Those who work in ethics professionally are usually, though not exclusively, academics working in a university environment. Michael Davis works in a Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions at a higher education institution, and explores ethical issues related to the university. As he explains in his preface, this involves two closely