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A social contract theory critique of professional codes of ethics

David K. McGraw (Department of Integrated Science and Technology, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA, USA)

Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society

ISSN: 1477-996X

Article publication date: 30 November 2004

Abstract

This paper considers whether professional codes of ethics are enforceable, legitimate, and just. In analyzing codes of ethics in this way, one must consider whether they exist to benefit members of the profession, or society as a whole. The analysis shifts dramatically based on this question, as codes of ethics are typically created by members of the profession, not by representatives of the larger population, and where they are enforced, they are only enforced among members of the profession. However, professional codes of ethics have an impact on those outside the profession, or the larger society outside the smaller community that created them.

Keywords

Citation

McGraw, D.K. (2004), "A social contract theory critique of professional codes of ethics", Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society, Vol. 2 No. 4, pp. 235-243. https://doi.org/10.1108/14779960480000256

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited