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Work, Well–being and Vocational Education: The Ethical Significance of Work and Preparation for Work

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Abstract:

David Carr's account of the nature of professional work is described and examined. It is argued that Carr's criteria for distinguishing between professional and non–professional work are not adequate. The criteria are as follows: the professions’ essential role in promoting human flourishing; their contestability; their direct concern for the well–being of clients; their provision of a high degree of autonomy for practitioners. They do not mark out a qualitative difference between professions and other occupations. Carr's notion of civic necessities applies to what he describes as non–professional as well as to professional work. The role of commercial considerations in the usefulness of some kinds of work is considered and a distinction is made between technical and occupational virtues. Carr treats professional virtues as occupational virtues without appreciating that nearly all occupations have both occupational and technical virtues. A significant part of the wouthwhileness of work is bound up with practice of the relevant occupational virtues.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1468-5930.t01-1-00222

Affiliations: University College Northampton, UK

Publication date: December 1, 2002

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