Cover image for Ethics in the public service : the moral mind at work
Ethics in the public service : the moral mind at work
Garofalo, Charles, 1938-
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Publication Information:
Washington, D.C. : Georgetown University Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
v, 202 pages ; 24 cm
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JF1525.E8 G37 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Offers public administrators neither a blueprint nor a script, but a unified approach to constructing reasoned, reasonable, and justifiable moral positions. Examines ethical theory in public administration and the normative paradox in it, absolutist theories, the unification of ethical theories, and ethical unity.

Author Notes

Charles Garofalo is an associate professor of political science and Dean Geuras is a professor of philosophy, both at Southwest Texas State University.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

This well-written and lucid book develops an integrated moral philosophy for public administration. Garofalo and Geuras contend that most public administration thinking on ethics is only loosely tied to moral philosophy and tends to be morally relativistic. To develop a coherent and well-grounded ethical position, they begin with the Kantian principles of respecting the autonomy of individuals to make free moral decisions and of treating people as ends unto themselves. They add a utilitarian concern for the consequences of action and an Aristotelian focus on virtue. By arguing that respect for individual moral autonomy can also be seen as essential to utilitarian and character-based theories, their approach constitutes a unified moral perspective. The authors then argue that many public administration scholars' perceptions of an automatic contradiction between bureaucracy and democracy is unnecessary with this approach. This is demonstrated by incorporating their concept of moral agency with the view that US administrative agencies generally seek to accomplish legitimately defined concepts of the public interest and hence become social assets rather than liabilities to society. Although Garofalo and Geuras do not explain how to take this step, they brilliantly sketch the normative basis for doing so. Required reading for serious students of public administration. C. T. Goodsell; Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Table of Contents

1 Ethical Theory in Public Administration
2 The Normative Paradox in Contemporary Public Administration Theory
3 A Review of Absolutist Theories
4 The Unification of Ethical Theories
5 Ethical Unity in Public Administration