One of the project’s aims is to pull together the disparate discussions of the ethics of roles. This is an ongoing process, so consider the bibliography below a work in progress.



Abbarno, John M. (1993) Role responsibility and values. Journal of Value Inquiry. 27: 305-16.

Andre, Judith  (1991) Role Morality as a Complex Instance of Ordinary Morality. American Philosophical Quarterly, 28, 73–79.

Annas, Julia (2002). My Station and its Duties: Ideals and the Social Embeddedness of Virtue. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 102(2): 109–23.

Almond, Brenda (2005) Reasonable Partiality in Professional Relationships. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 8: 155-168. (Abstract and first two pages)

Bradley, F.H. (1927 [1876]) My Station and its Duties. In his Ethical Studies: Selected Essays. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Candlish, Stewart (1978) Bradley on my station and its duties. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 56(2): 155-70.

Dahrendorf, Ralf (1968) ‘Homo Sociologicus: On the History, Significance and Limits of the Category of Social Role’. In his Essays in the Theory of Society. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

Emmet, Dorothy (1966) Rules, Roles and Relations. London: MacMillan.

Freedman, Benjamin (1978) A Meta Ethics for Professional Morality. Ethics 89: 1-19.

Hardimon, Michael O. (1994) Role Obligations. Journal of Philosophy 9: 333-363.

Jeske, Diane (1996) Associative Obligations, Voluntarism, and Equality. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 77: 289-309.

Jeske, Diane (2014) Special Obligations. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Edward N. Zalta, ed.

MacIntyre, Alasdair (2006) Social Structures and Their Threat to Moral Agency. In his Ethics and Politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Scheffler, Samuel (1997) Relationships and Responsibilities. Philosophy and Public Affairs 26: 189-209.

Sciaffara, Stefan (2011) Identification, Meaning, and the Normativity of Social Roles. European Journal of Philosophy 19: 107-128.

Sidgwick, Henry (1893) My station and its duties. International Journal of Ethics. 4(1): 1-17.

Simmons, A. J. (1996) External Justifications and Institutional Roles. In his Justification and Legitimacy: Essays on Rights and Obligations. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Stern, Robert (2013) ‘My station and its duties’: social role accounts of obligation in Green and Bradley. In Ameriks, K., ed., The impact of idealism, vol. 1: Philosophy and natural sciences. Cambridge University Press. 299-322.

Swanton, Christine (2007) Virtue Ethics, Role Ethics, and Business Ethics. In Rebecca L. Walker and Philip J. Ivanhoe, eds., Working Virtue. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Walzer, Michael (1973) Political Action: The Problem of Dirty Hands. Philosophy and Public Affairs. 2: 160-80.



Business Ethics

Solomon, Robert C. (1997) Corporate Roles, Personal Virtues: An Aristotelian Approach to Business Ethics. In Daniel Statman, ed., Virtue Ethics: A Critical Reader. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Sternberg, Elaine (2000) Just Business: Business Ethics in Action. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Swanton, Christine (2007) Virtue Ethics, Role Ethics, and Business Ethics. In Rebecca L. Walker and Philip J. Ivanhoe, eds, Working Virtue. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


Johnson, Deborah G. (1992) Do Engineers have Social Responsibilities? Journal of Applied Philosophy 9: 21- 34.

Nichols, Steven P. (1997) Professional responsibility: The Role of the Engineer in Society. Science and Engineering Ethics 3: 327-37.


Brake, Elizabeth (2012) Marriage and Domestic Partnership. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2012 Edition). Edward N. Zalta, ed.

Gheaus, Anca (2012) The Right to Parent One’s Biological Baby. Journal of Political Philosophy. 20(4): 432-55.

Jeske, Diane (1998) Families, Friends, and Special Obligations. Canadian Journal of Philosophy, 28(4): 527-55.

Keller, Simon (2006) Four Theories of Filial Duty. Philosophical Quarterly 56: 254-74.

Porter, Lindsey (2014) Why and How to Prefer a Causal Account of Parenthood. Journal of
Social Philosophy. 45(2): 182-202.

Porter, Lindsey (2015) Gestation and Parental Rights: Why is Good Enough Good Enough? Feminist Philosophical Quarterly, 1(1), article 5.

Sommers, Christina Hoff (1986) Filial Morality. Journal of Philosophy 83: 439-56.

Gender roles

Beauvoire, Simone de (1997 [1949]) ‘Introduction’ to her The Second Sex. Trans. H. M. Harshley. Vintage.

Bordo, Susan (1993) Are mothers persons? Reproductive Rights and the Politics of Subject-ivity. Ch. 2 of her Unbearable Weight: Feminism, Western Culture, and the Body. Berkeley: University of California Press. Pp. 71-98.

Haslanger, Sally (2012) ‘Gender and Race: (What) Are They? (What) Do We Want Them to Be?’ Chapter 7 of Resisting Reality: Social Construction and Social Critique. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Okin, Susan Moller (1991) Justice From Sphere to Sphere: challenging the Public/Domestic Dichotomy. Ch. 6 of her ,Justice, Gender, and the Family. New York: Basic. Pp. 110-134.

Wittig, Monique (1981) One Is Not Born A Woman. Feminist Issues 1(2).


Dare, Tim (2000) The Role of Law and the Role of Lawyers. In T. Campbell and J. D. Goldsworthy, eds, Judicial Power, Democracy and Legal Positivism. Ashgate. Pp. 371- 90.

Dworkin, Ronald (1986) Law’s Empire. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

Ewin, R.E. (1991) Personal Morality and Professional Ethics: The Lawyer’s Duty of Zeal. International Journal of Applied Philosophy 6: 35-45.

Hursthouse, Rosalind (2007) Two Ways of Doing the Right Thing. In Colin Farrelly and Lawrence B. Solum, eds., Virtue Jurisprudence. Palgrave MacMillan.

Luban, David, ed. (1984) The Good Lawyer: Lawyers’ Roles and Lawyers’ Ethics. Rowman and Littlefield.

Oakley, Justin, and Cocking, Dean (2001) Virtue Ethics and Professional Roles. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Solum, Lawrence B. (2003) Virtue Jurisprudence. Metaphilosophy 34: 178-213.

Healthcare and Bioethics

Alexandra, Andrew  and Miller, Seumas, ‘Ethical Theory, “Common Morality,” and Professional Obligations’, Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 30, (2009) pp.69-80.

Bradshaw, Ann (1999) The Virtue of Nursing: The Covenant of Care. Journal of Medical Ethics 25: 477-81.

Cribb, Alan (2011) Integrity at Work: Managing Routine Moral Stress in Professional Roles. Nursing Philosophy 12: 119–127.

Edgar, A. and Pattison, S. (2011) Integrity and The Moral Complexity of Professional Practice. Nursing Philosophy 12: 94–106.

Forsyth, Rowena,  Morrell, Bronwen, Lipworth, Wendy, Kerridge, Ian, Jordens, Christopher F. C. & Chapman, Simon (2012) Health Journalists’ Perceptions of Their Professional Roles and Responsibilities for Ensuring the Veracity of Reports of Health Research. Journal of Mass Media Ethics 27: 130 – 141.

Oakley, Justin, and Cocking, Dean (2001) Virtue Ethics and Professional Roles. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Politics and Public Office

Applbaum, Arthur (1999) Ethics for Adversaries: The Morality of Roles in Public and Professional Life. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Coady, C. A. J. (2009) Messy Morality: the Challenge of Politics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Hodgson, Geoffrey M. (2007) Institutions and Individuals: Interaction and Evolution. Organization Studies 28: 97-116.

Hurd, Heidi (1999) Moral Combat. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Williams, Bernard (1993) Morality: An Introduction to Ethics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Press and Media

Harcup, Tony (2007) The Ethical Journalist. London: Sage.

Keeble, Richard (2001) Ethics for Journalists. London: Routledge.

Miscellaneous roles

[Teaching] Aldrich, Virgil C. (1968) The Teacher’s Station and Its Duties. The Monist 52(1): 46-59.

[Friendship] Jollimore, Troy (2000) Friendship Without Partiality? Ratio 13: 69-82.

[Crime victims] Sandra E. Marshall (2004). Victims of Crime: Their Station and its Duties. Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 7(2): 104-117.


Beggs, Donald (2003) The Idea of Group Moral Virtue. Journal of Social Philosophy 34: 457-74.

French, Peter A. (1979) The Corporation as a Moral Person. American Philosophical Quarterly 16: 207-15.

Fricker, Miranda (2010) Can There Be Institutional Virtues? In John Hawthorne and Tamar Gendler-Szabo, eds., Oxford Studies in Epistemology, Social Epistemology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Gilbert, Margaret (2006) A Theory of Political Obligation. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Gilbert, Margaret (2000) Sociality and Responsibility. Maryland: Rowman and Littlefield.

Graham, Keith (2002) Practical Reasoning in a Social World. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Hodgson, Geoffrey M. (2007) Institutions and Individuals: Interaction and Evolution. Organization Studies 28: 97-116.

Isaacs, Tracy (2011) Moral Responsibility in Collective Contexts. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

List, Christian and Pettit, Philip (2011) Group Agency: The Possibility, Design, and Status of Corporate Agents. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Stroud, Sarah (2010) Permissible Partiality, Projects, and Plural Agency. In Brian Feltham & John Cottingham, eds., Partiality and Impartiality: Morality, Special Relationships and the Wider World. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Pp. 131-149.

2 thoughts on “LITERATURE GUIDE

  1. Howard Whitton

    Hello – I have been working with notions of ‘Role Ethics’ in the public sector/public service for some years. I have a particular interest in Role Ethics in relation to duty, conflict of interest, whistleblowing, and corruption, insofar as the notion applies to public officials, and holders of public office. This interest has had practical application – for example, Lord Nolan drew on legislation I designed (for Australia) for his Seven Principles… I am interested in the ongoing work of this group.

  2. 1234together Post author

    Hi Howard, Sorry for the long delay in replying. Glad to hear of your interest, and of your work antecedent to Nolan. We’re doing some work on codes of conduct as part of the project and e.g. the new England and Wales Policing code of ethics draws on those seven principles (and adds some more), so I was wondering what their origin was. Alex

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s