NOTES ON THE CODES OF PROFESSIONAL ETHICS
The question of professional ethics is one of outstanding significance today „ the author thinks, linking as it does theoretical moral considerations with constructive social didactic practice. Drawing attention to the recently observable efforts to determine moral obligations for various professional groups, the author discerns three controversial problems, namely, – the problem of the sense and nature of moral didactics, the essence of professional ethics, and, the utility of moral codes.
On the question of moral didactics the author holds the view that a stabilized society cannot do without an organized „good” system of moral didactics, towards the development of which ethics ought to collaborate actively. On the question of professional ethics the author shares the view that it consists in concretizing the moral claims universally approved by the public with regard to the specific situations and professional duties of given definite groups. Its peculiar character consists chiefly in the choice of the particular moral claims to accentuate, while its main task lies in increasing the sense of professional responsibility and safeguarding representatives of the different professions from the danger of moral abuse ensuing from their respective professional functions. In this connection the author feels that the propagation and execution of such claims of professional ethics constitute one of the most effective forms of moral didactics in contemporary society. Selecting same professions possessing especial social significance on account of the immediate influence of their representative upon the lot of individual human beings, the author reviews the possibilities of constructing their particular moral codes.
As to the utility of moral codes, the author leans towards the opinion that the various drawbacks in the traditional code do not cancel the didactic value of such a set of socially approved moral claims as would include modern science concerning the specific nature and scope of morality, the conflicting character of moral values in definite situations, the changeability of moral values, etc. This particular kind of professional moral codes the author deems the most sensible.
With the Principles of Ethics for the Polish People’s Army Personnel as example, the author designates the methodological difficulties connected with the preparation of such a code. This includes particularly the difficulty of determining the claims to be regarded as indispensable for a given group from both the moral and the professional point of view, the difficulty of determining the scope of moral claims for a given profession, and finally, the problem of the verbal formulation of such claims. It is the author’s opinion that the determining of such claims can be done when taking as basis the principles of a definite ethical system and a knowledge of the rights and duties of a given profession. In view of the structure of socialist society, he advocates such a scope of professional morality clams as would include also principles that are not directly linked with the discharge of duties of the given profession, but indispensable from the point of view of the particular individual’s participation in social and communal life as a whole. He expresses the opinion that such a code should preferably constitute a formulation, by means of detailed moral claims, of the ideal of man as a member of society and of a definite professional group, rather than just a collection of rigorous norms.