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Translational Studies for Inclusive Society
"On the Fundamental Role of Ethics and Psychology"

Writer: KOIZUMI, Yoshiyuki (Graduate School of Core Ethics and Frontier Sciences, Professor)   terms: 2014 7


This project is being conducted by researchers belonging to the “Fundamental research on social inclusion and support” team, mainly through research and social activities conducted at this university’s Research Center for Ars Vivendi. For more information, please see their individual web pages.

Here I would like to write about some of the research I have recently conducted concerning ethics and psychology, both of which can be seen as constituting the academic basis of “translation”, “inclusion” and “support” as these terms are used in the context of this project.

The trend toward ethics and psychology

Today, the need for cooperation between diverse professions is being asserted in various places. So how is this assertion being justified? In most cases, various diverse issues concerning actual practice in a particular setting are presented, and, with the majority of these being sorted into ethical or psychological problems, it is asserted that this or that kind of cooperation is needed because this or that problem exists. In other words, issues that go beyond the territory of the professional duties or responsibilities of any particular profession as they have existed until now, namely, issues that are beyond the scope of the professional ethics of each of these professions, are taken up as ethical or psychological problems, and the necessity of cooperation is then asserted. Then, in order to bridge these gaps, the traditional territory of each profession is ethically/psychologically expanded, new professional duties are created within extant professions, new gap-bridging quasi-professions are established, and experts in ethics and psychology enter these gaps. As a result it is thought that in most professions it is necessary to learn and practice (applied) ethics and (applied) psychology in addition to professional knowledge and skills, and this has been one factor behind the recent trend toward ethics and psychology.

The duties of professions

At present, as far as can be seen in the literature, there have been almost no doubts raised regarding the trend described above. Various types of experts have proclaimed the necessity of cooperation in one voice, and endorsed the expansion of their own domains. Most things are accompanied by both light and darkness, however, so it is necessary to examine whether this might perhaps be true in this case as well.

I myself have several doubts about this trend that views cooperation as obvious. Since I am not yet prepared to discuss these doubts using concrete examples, I will state three of them in general terms. First, while it is indeed the case that various problems arise in these settings, because they tend to get sorted into ethical and psychological problems there are cases in which other kinds of problems are removed from the experts’ field of view. That said, since these sorts of problems and their solutions do not originally lie within the territories of these experts and should not, it can be concluded, be addressed within these fields, in a sense this becomes a small point. Second, and this is a doubt concerning this cooperation itself, while experts proclaim the necessity of cooperation they have come to do so without having to consider what the goal of this cooperation might be and who should be responsible for realizing it. Like the first point above, however, this too in a sense is a small point. The third issue, however, is that as a result of the excessive or improper use of ethics and psychology as the “glue” of cooperation, the borders between the responsibilities/duties/fields of each profession have become unclear. I think that this has had no small influence on the practice of each profession, or, to go a bit further, on each profession’s working conditions. To go even further, I think it has come to undermine each profession’s particular ethics.

At present I can only write in general, abstract terms, but, with these issues as a starting point, through this project I would like to present the form that ought to be taken by the ethics and psychology that are adopted as basic foundations.

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