Serving the public interest with integrity requires a moral perspective that can rise above the day-to-day pressures of the job. This book integrates Western philosophy's most significant ethical theories and merges them with public administration theory to provide public administrators with an explicit moral foundation for ethical decision making. "Ethics in the Public Service" reviews moral thought through the ages, from Plato to Rorty, and makes the philosophies of the more difficult thinkers accessible to both students and practitioners. Unifying seemingly disparate ethical positions, including those of Aristotle, Kant, and Mill, the authors defend the idea of objective moral truth and critique subjectivist views, refuting postmodernism and ethical relativism. Using their integrated objective approach, they tackle such dichotomies in public administration theory as bureaucracy vs. democracy, and they also examine a case study in an administrative setting. Offering a better understanding of moral dilemmas rather than a formula, this book presents scholars and practitioners with a framework that is both objective and flexible, theoretical and practical.
This original synthesis provides a comprehensive basis for administrative thought and action.
Charles Garofalo is an associate professor of political science and Dean Geuras is a professor of philosophy, both at Southwest Texas State University.
Introduction 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. Epilogue