Volume 42, Issue 6 (November 1997)
Foundations of Ethical Practice in the Forensic Sciences
This paper presents an introduction to moral philosophy to assist forensic scientists in thinking more clearly about ethics. A four step model for the analysis of problems is provided. A logical model for reasoned arguments is offered. Two common objections to claims of objective foundations for ethics are considered and criticized. Two leading theories of objective foundations for ethics are considered and criticized. It is suggested that further research in ethics is needed to develop intellectual structures and tools adequate to resolve questions about what constitutes evidence in ethics and how to adjudicate between conflicting ethical theories. The task for forensic scientists is to develop interim ethical guidelines for practice despite the current absence of universally accepted objective foundations for ethics.