Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Baier on Professional Ethicists

Can we approve of a division of labor in which the theorists keep their hands clean of real-world applications, the ones who advise the decision-makers, those who do “applied ethics,” are like a consumer reports service, pointing out the variety of available theories and what costs and benefits each has for a serious user of it? Does the profession of moral philosophy now display that degeneration of a Kantian moral outlook that Hegel portrays, where there are beautiful souls doing their theoretical thing and averting their eyes from what is happening in the real, even from what is happening in the way of “application” of their own theories, and there are those paid to be the ‘conscience’ of the medical, business or legal profession, what Hegel calls the moral valets, the professional moral judges? (Baier, A, Postures of the Mind Essays on Mind and Morals, pp 233 - 234).

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