Sunday, 4 November 2012

Ethics Campus Session 2: Module 2

The theme of the campus session on 30th October was Ethics.  We started by discussing the Ethics reader and looked to gain a common understanding of what Ethics means, the different approaches to Ethics and how they apply to Professional Practice. Ethics from the word Ethos comes from Greek and means character.  Wrapped up in Ethics is the notion of promoting good and preventing harm. We came up with some words which encapsulates Ethics for us. Suggestions were:

Health and Safety

The Reader explains the approaches to ethics proposed by various thinkers through the centuries. These offer us a way to interpret and can inform how we handle the range of ethics dilemmas we face. JS Mill’s approach has been ascribed as Consequentialist – and this approach argues that the end can justify the means of an action if the action is for the greater good. The Deontological approach by contrast argues against this. A wrong is a wrong and can never be justified. Hence, lying is always wrong. Kant’s view is that if lying is permissible then lying will be become intrinsic and therefore we will never know whether one is lying or not and therefore this would not be helpful for social good.  Then there is virtue ethics first proposed by Aristotle which is about the habitual actions of the character. This is about not being honest just on Fridays, say, rather the character needs to be honest every day.

How grey the area of ethics is became clear when we discussed the case study of photographer taking a picture of a dying child in a war zone rather than helping the child. He was adhering to his professional code of practice and by taking the photograph the plight of children in a war zone could be viewed by a greater audience. A clear example of tensions that occur in professional practice in relation to ethics. 

Ethical principles can change with time and geography. Practices which are considered ethical in one part of the world can be considered unethical in others. Ethical principles can sometimes translate into Statutory regulations (rules) eg The Human Rights Act.

There was a discussion on the movie “The Black Swan” where the issue of unhealthy eating can be harmful in the world of dance. The balance is fine between maintaining a slim physique against long term health. Other issues in the movie included manipulation and drug taking. 

Then everyone thought about Ethics applies in their own professional practice and Codes of Practice were produced in class - check these clips out:

Nearly every profession has produced some code of practice and there are many examples of these given in the Reader.  Follow this link to Code produced by the Council for Dance Education and Training. If you are engaged in this type of work evaluate how this matches your own personal ethical stance and that of your workplace. Assess whether there are any conflicts between the personal, professional, organizational and social ethical principles.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this Rosemary - I have linked your blog to the Campus Sessions in Module 2 on the Libguide.

    The rationale for professional practice is often seen as an integrated part of training - but looking at it outside this lens lets people know that there is ethical practice in most professional settings. Like at the conference we went to - professional services - accountants and auditors - have their won professional bodies and rules - we can look them up. What happened to these codes in the banking industry? What happens when actors are asked to work for free (Pauline mentioned this area of practice that he feels strongly is not acceptable). When we talk to individuals for practitioner research - we might need to relate to their understanding of whatever they do in order to understand where they are coming from in terms of decisions and decision making.