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



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