Ethicist

Ethicist

An ethicist is one whose judgment on ethics and ethical codes has come to be trusted by a specific community, and (importantly) is expressed in some way that makes it possible for others to mimic or approximate that judgement. Following the advice of ethicists is one means of acquiring knowledge (see argument from authority). [Tjeltveit, Alan C. (1999) "Ethics and Values in Psychotherapy" Routledge, London, pages 37-39, ISBN 0-415-15663-7] [Michels, Robert (1991) "Psychiatry: Where medicine, psychology, and ethics meet" "in" Browning, Don S. and Evison, Ian S. (eds.) (1991) "Does Psychiatry Need a Public Philosophy?" Nelson-Hall, Chicago, pp. 61-73, page 70, ISBN 0-8304-1244-1]

The term jurist describes an ethicist whose judgment on law becomes part of a legal code, or otherwise has force of law. This may be due to formal (de jure) state sanction.

Some jurists have less formal (de facto) backing by an ethical community, e.g. a religious community. In Islamic Law, for instance, such a community following (taqlid) a specific jurisprudence (fiqh) of shariah mimics judgment of a prior jurist. [Ismael, J. S. and Ismael, T. Y. (1980) "Social Change in Islamic Society: The Political Thought of Ayatollah Khomeini" "Social Problems" 27(5): pp. 601-619, page 614] Catholic Canon Law has a similar structure. Such a jurist may be a theologian or simply a prominent teacher. To those outside this tradition, the jurist is simply an ethicist who they may more freely disagree with, and whose input on any issue is advisory. However, they may find it hard to avoid a fatwa or excommunication or other such shunning by the religious community, so it may be hard advice to ignore.

Outside the legal professions and spiritual traditions, ethicists are usually considered to be either philosophers or more practical mediators of disputes. Indeed, views of ethics that are not deemed to be useful in resolving actual disputes are usually frowned upon as ideology. Modern ethicists often take the view that ethics is only about such resolution.

The list of ethicists demonstrates the extreme range of people who have made, or contributed to, ethical debates. It also demonstrates that not all individuals who do so can be considered to be good moral examples by all.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Ethicist — Eth i*cist ([e^]th [i^]*s[i^]st), n. One who is versed in ethics, or has written on ethics. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • ethicist — [eth ish′əneth′ə sist] n. a person versed in ethics or devoted to ethical ideals: also ethician [eth ish′ən] …   English World dictionary

  • ethicist — ethics ► PLURAL NOUN 1) the moral principles governing or influencing conduct. 2) the branch of knowledge concerned with moral principles. DERIVATIVES ethicist noun …   English terms dictionary

  • ethicist — noun Date: circa 1890 a specialist in ethics …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • ethicist — /eth euh sist/, n. a person who specializes in or writes on ethics or who is devoted to ethical principles. Also, ethician /e thish euhn/. [1890 95; ETHIC + IST] * * * …   Universalium

  • ethicist — noun a) A person, especially a philosopher, who studies principles governing right and wrong conduct. b) A person who advocates a particular set of principles governing right and wrong conduct. See Also: ethics …   Wiktionary

  • ethicist — eth·i·cist eth ə səst n one who specializes in or is very concerned about ethics <now ethicists must confront the unsettling question of whether to set limits on scientific inquiry (Ricardo Sookdeo)> …   Medical dictionary

  • ethicist — eth·i·cist || eθɪsɪst n. person who studies ethics, person concerned with the study of moral principles …   English contemporary dictionary

  • ethicist — eth·i·cist …   English syllables

  • ethicist — /ˈɛθəsəst/ (say ethuhsuhst) noun 1. a philosopher who specialises in ethics. 2. a person who believes in ethicism …   Australian-English dictionary

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