Michael F. Dorsey- An Introduction to Ethics: From the Greeks to Applied Behavior Analysis

1.0 Type II CE Credit/1.0 Ethics Credits

This talk was filmed at the Ethics in Professional Practice Conference at Endicott College

About the presentation:

The presentation will cover the evolution of the concept of Ethics from Plato’s Ordered Integration to that of BF Skinner and Applied Behavior Analysis. Plato believed that our goal as humans is to actualize our true nature: an ethic of self-realization. He extolled four virtues: wisdom, courage, temperance and justice. Skinnerian ethics holds that individuals already and necessarily do the good that maximizes reinforcement. A social environment may induce its members to give help even though these members gain nothing from the advantage of the group (Skinner, 1975). Thus, society provides overriding reasons for self-sacrifice with practices that have been selected simply because they have contributed to its survival. The focus of the presentation will be to discuss how one’s personal and professional ethical perspective may be different, being influenced by consequences within their idiosyncratic environments, and how to best create a functional approach to both.

Upon completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Discuss two of the initial Greet Philosopher’s ethical perspectives
  • Present a cogent argument to the ethical dilemma: “Is it ever right to Lie?”
  • Discuss the ethical position of BF Skinner and how it relates to contemporary Applied Behavior Analysis practice

About the presenter:

Michael F. Dorsey, PhD, BCBA-D is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA-D) and a Licensed Psychologist. Dr. Dorsey is a Professor of Education and Co-Founder and Director of the Institute for Behavioral Studies at Endicott College in Beverly, Massachusetts. Dr. Dorsey earned his PhD from Western Michigan University in 1979. During his career, Dr. Dorsey has served on the faculty of several prestigious universities and colleges including The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the The Jordanian Institute of Science and Technology. He has authored/co-authored a number of professional publications, including assisting in the initial development of the Functional Behavior Analysis methodology. Dr. Dorsey has served as a member of the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) Accreditation Committee of the Education Board, and was appointed as one of the original members of the (ABAI) Practice Board, where he served as Chair from 2009 to 2012.

Dr. Dorsey’s first experience in consumer advocacy came in 1978, when he assisted in drafting an Amicus Curiae Brief submitted to the United States Supreme Court in the Connecticut–ARC Case. Dr. Dorsey has been a Gubernatorial appointee of the Developmental Disabilities Councils of both Florida and Massachusetts and chaired the Massachusetts MDDC Governmental Affairs Committee for over six years. In 1992, he served as a US representative to the First Papal Congress on Developmental Disabilities. Dr. Dorsey has co-authored several bills related to the protection of ABA consumers and the practice of Applied Behavior Analysis, including the newly passed ABA Licensing Bill in Massachusetts. Dr. Dorsey was recently appointed by Gov. Duval Patrick to serve as one of the original members of the Massachusetts Licensing Board for Applied Behavior Analysts. He has testified on numerous occasions at both the federal and state level concerning proposed legislation, policies and budgets, and as an expert witness in Bureau of Special Education Appeals (BSEA) cases, as well as in various Probate, Superior, and Federal Court cases involving the education and treatment of individuals diagnosed with developmental disabilities.

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