Journal of Applied Ethics and Philosophy;vol. 7


Codes of Ethics : Towards a Principlist Justification

Muresan, Valentin

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JaLCDOI : 10.14943/jaep.7.1
KEYWORDS : code of conduct;code of ethics;ethical infrastructure;principlism;moral justification of a code


The subject of this article is the “ethical justification” of a code of conduct. How does a code of conduct become an ethical code? The article focuses on the principlist approach in a broad sense, assessing its comparative advantages. Many scholarly critics are unhappy with the chaotic methods of grounding and writing ethical codes. They therefore stress the necessity of reducing this harmful abundant diversity. This paper does not support the monistic (single principle only) justification of an ethical code; instead, it proposes a pluralist justification based on “principlism”. The core of the article is a sketch of the conceptual and managerial complexity generated by the principlist justification of an ethical code. It is mainly a conceptual and future-oriented approach, suggesting ways of building codes of ethics that are not yet practically enacted on a large scale and which, for this reason, may seem impractical. Lest they remain so, we have to keep an open mind with regard to their real, and not only their potential, practicality.