Wednesday, November 28, 2012



Peter Bowden

Published by Tilde University Press and able to be ordered through Amazon, through Macmillan in Australia, or directly from the publisher (here)

What are the advantages of this book ? 

The book is very different to anyother ethics book that you have read . It does contain the ethical theory that you have read elsewhere , but it takes it much further, in that it also  gives you those ethical theorists- Beauchamp and Childress, Gert, and Frankena  that have pulled together the theories into a coherent whole.

A greater strength however , is that it   draws on 22 contributors across 14 different disciplines - all members or associates of the Australian Association of Professional and Applied Ethics - each writing for his or  her own discipline . Each is skilled in the discipline, and knowledgeable of the ethical issues that it faces.

The book is necessary reading  for teachers of ethics in all  disciplines, and for ethics officers in the workplace,charged with developing and running an ethics program in their organisations.

The book has the subtitle "Strengthening ethical practices ". In total  , it describes  seven practices that ,if taught,and applied in  the work place , will bring about  improved ethical behaviour , These seven are described in this blog  (Here), reproduced below 

Seven practices to strengthen ethical behaviour 

a)    Strengthening our ability to recognise when we ourselves have been unethical. Since first writing those words, I have come across two more references to the fact that we fool ourselves when we judge our own ethical or unethical behaviour (Dorothy Rowe,  Why we lie, and Dan Ariely The (honest) truth about dishonesty.  How we lie to everyone - especially ourselves). Both are psychologists.  Ariely documents numerous experiments that will convince any reader of our underlying dishonesty. 

b)    Steps to encourage us to speak out against wrongdoing (this is blowing the whistle on wrongdoing  – well proven in its effectiveness in stopping unethical or illegal activities), The research that demonstrates this conclusion is available HERE

c)    Developments in codes of ethics that make them effective. See Vanya Smythe’s article in Applied Ethics. The research is not a 100% guarantee, but still convincing.  

d)    Policies adopted by private sector organisations to institutionalise ethical behaviour, The paper documents a half dozen practices- all recent developments - in current use.  

e)    New programs for ensuring greater honesty in government.  Both d) and e) document the programs. Extensive research is under way to identify their effectiveness. 

f)     Building action on empirical findings, not argument.  This is the disputed issue – see below.
g)    Teaching these practices

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