My Job and its Requirements

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This chapter concerns the ethics and metaphysics of occupations, such as teacher, waiter, and priest. It is argued that teacher is a functional kind, but teachers are not functional objects. If you are a practising teacher, it is likely that you perform a function and serve a purpose, that of imparting knowledge and cultivating minds and skills. This is what teachers, generically, are for, and it is what your school is for. But it is not what you are for. Easily confused senses of ‘job’ are distinguished: occupation, position, requirement, and function. It is explained that the requirements of your position and occupation do not entail ability, reasons, or fault (if not complied with), and that if you are not as your position and occupation require, you are not as you ought to be, but it does not follow that there is anything wrong with you. There is some metaphysical speculation about positions. Some sources of, and remedies for, workplace alienation and anxiety are examined.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Ethics of Social Roles
EditorsAlex Barber, Sean Cordell
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages25
ISBN (Print)9780192843562
Publication statusPublished - 16 May 2023

Publication series

NameEngaging Philosophy
PublisherOxford University Press


  • role
  • job
  • position
  • occupation
  • requirement
  • duty
  • function
  • ethics
  • metaphysics


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