Advertisement

Journal of Academic Ethics

, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp 61–69 | Cite as

Principled Autonomy and Plagiarism

  • Melinda Rosenberg
Article

Abstract

Every semester, professors in every discipline are burdened with the task of checking for plagiarized papers. Since plagiarism has become rampant in the university, it can be argued that devoting time to checking for plagiarism is nothing more than a fool’s errand. Students will continue to plagiarize regardless of the consequences. In this paper, I will argue that professors do have a categorically binding obligation to confirm whether papers have been plagiarized. I will use Onora O'Neill’s account of “principled autonomy” as the foundation for my argument. Moral agents can only act on principles that can be adopted by all. Dishonesty cannot be adopted since honesty would cease to exist. Furthermore, failing to check for plagiarized papers is a failure to treat all students and professors and ends-in-themselves.

Keywords

Plagiarism Academic integrity Deontological ethics Obligation 

References

  1. Glover, J. (1986). It makes no difference whether or not i do it. In: Peter Singer (ed.), reprinted in Applied ethics. Oxford: NY.Google Scholar
  2. Kant, I. (1988). Fundamental principles of the metaphysics of morals, trans. T. K. Abbott. Prometheus Books: Buffalo, NY.Google Scholar
  3. O’Neill, O. (1985). Between consenting adults. Philosophy and Public Affairs, 14(3), 252–277. Summer.Google Scholar
  4. O’Neill, O. (1993a). Justice, gender, and international boundaries. In M. Nussbaum & A. Sen (Eds.), The quality of life. NY: Oxford.Google Scholar
  5. O’Neill, O. (1993b). Kantian ethics. In P. Singer (Ed.), A companion to ethics (pp. 175–185). London: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  6. O’Neill, O. (2004). Kant: Rationality as practical reason. In A. J. Mele & P. Rawling (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of rationality (pp. 93–109). NY: Oxford.Google Scholar
  7. O’Neill, O. (2005). Autonomy and trust in bioethics. Cambridge: Cambridge.Google Scholar
  8. O’Neill, O. (2008). Kantian formula of the end in itself and world hunger. In: L Pojman (ed.), Reprinted in Ethical theory, 5th edn. Wadsworth: Belmont, CA.Google Scholar
  9. O’Neill, O. Perverting trust. The clare hall ashby lecture of 2009, lecture delivered May 15, 2009 at Robinson College, Cambridge University.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Philosophy and ReligionThe University of North Carolina at PembrokePembrokeUSA

Personalised recommendations