Faith and the Professions

By Thomas L. Shaffer

Subjects: Ethics
Paperback : 9781438434216, 347 pages, December 1987
Hardcover : 9780887065613, 347 pages, December 1987

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Table of contents

Chapter One Stories



The Study of American Doctor and Lawyer Heroes

Character in Community

One Lawyer's Moral Theology

The Theology of Virtue in the Professions

Chapter Two The Bible

The Gentleman's Ethic

David Hogan

The Bible as a Source of Medical Ethics

The Servant of the Lord

Chapter Three Theology

The Theology of the Two Kingdoms

The Two Kingdoms in American Professional Ethics

The Possibility of Influences between the Kingdoms

The Morals of the Task

The Doctrine of One Kingdom

Chapter Four The Profession

Medicine in Middlemarch

Code before Character

The Law Firm as Moral Teacher

Failure to Teach

Williams and Arrowsmith

The Issue: Work

Character before Code

Chapter Five Dissent

Part One: Dissent

Retail Justice

Dissent as Friendship

Dissent without Friendship

Dissent as Coming Home

Part Two: Friendship

The Issue of Preference

Three Traditional and Positive Arguments for Preferring Friends

Part Three: Gentle Cynicism

Beginning with Persons

Finding Professional Work Worthwhile (as a Social Ethic)

Friendship as a Social Ethic

The Dissenters' Theory of Social and Political Power

Chapter Six Schools

Brother Justinian's Visit

Friendship and Truth

Epilogue Pookas



Chapter Notes


Index of Names

Index of Stories


Thomas L. Shaffer argues that the morals of modern American lawyers and doctors have been corrupted by misguided professionalism and weak philosophy. He shows that professional codes exalt vocational principle over the traditional morals of character; but that, in practice, America's professionals and business people cultivate the ethics of character. The ethics of virtue have been neglected.

The ethical argument in Faith and the Professions is in part an application to professional life of the position taken by Alasdair MacIntyre in After Virtue and in Revisions, and by Robert Bellah and his collaborators in Habits of the Heart. It is also, in part, an argument for the relevance of religious ethics.

Thomas L. Shaffer is Professor of Law at Washington and Lee University Law School.


"You have a real gem here in my opinion. " -- Elizabeth D. Gee, University of Colorado

"It makes a significant contribution to the study of professional ethics. It took from this reading a number of interesting and powerful idas that are not so well presented elsewhere. " -- Carl S. Hawkins, Brigham Young University