Discussions of ethics in psychology often focus primarily on misconduct, punishment, and legal sanctions, and too often ignore aspirations, values, principles, and virtues. The net effect of this unbalanced approach creates an atmosphere in which psychologists have viewed ethics as unpleasant and frightening, instead of inspiring and uplifting. Psychologists naturally must be concerned about laws, codes, and regulations, but these documents do not constitute the beginning and end of the conversation on ethics. The editors of this 2-volume reference propose that ethics is best viewed as a striving toward the highest ethical ideals, not just as an injunction against rule violation—a perspective they refer to as “positive ethics” or “active ethics”—and they encourage psychologists to elevate their ethical observance above the minimal standards found in law and enforceable ethics codes.
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