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Handbook of Professional Ethics for Psychologists: Issues,
Questions, and Controversies

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Handbook of Professional Ethics for Psychologists: Issues, Questions, and Controversies

William O'Donohue & Kyle Ferguson

Pub. date: 2003 | Online Pub. Date: May 31, 2012 | DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.4135/9781412990004 | Print ISBN: 9780761911890 | Online ISBN: 9781412990004 | Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.

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Chapter 2: Philosophical Foundations of Professional Ethics

Philosophical foundations of professional ethics This chapter is designed to provide a brief introduction to the field of ethics. Although this text is devoted to covering ethical topics specific to the field of psychology, a more general understanding of traditional ethical questions, principles, and theories may facilitate an understanding of ethics as it is applied to the professional domain of psychology. The study of ethics can be broken down into four primary domains: metaethics, normative ethics, virtue ethics, and applied ethics. This chapter deals with the first three domains, while subsequent chapters deal with applied ethics. Metaethics , as the name suggests, is an investigation into the underlying assumptions of our ethical systems and beliefs (Fieser, 2000). What beliefs do we rely on (intentionally or unintentionally) when we reason ethically about a situation? Does ethical thinking differ from other sorts of thinking? It is here that questions of moral relativism, ...

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