Comment on Discussion 2

It seems that comments on discussion two on what is a “true professional” seems to be plagued with ambiguity and confusion. I think many people are looking at the distinction between professional and non-professional as one of moral worth. Many of you want to say that anyone who treats people and colleagues with respect; is honest; does his or her job effectively; is “acting professional”. The problem with this view is that it entails that 1) that everyone is or could be a professional, and thus the term becomes meaningless, or 2) that things like honesty, or respect are things that all of us **don’t** owe to everyone. If these qualities are unique to professionals, then they are not things that I owe people in everyday life, but only to people when I act in my official “professional” capacity.

When asking what defines someone as a professional, we are looking for something that distinguishes a certain type of occupation from others. While people in business like to think of themselves as business professionals, philosophers like to ask what special moral duties, obligations, or privileges a business person has. Can someone in business lie? Are they not obligated to tell the truth? What part of everyday morality applies to people in business that doesn’t apply to everyone else? Doctor, lawyers and others do get special privileges and have special responsibilities. These things (along with some others) seem to distinguish occupations from professions in a substantive way.

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