Revisiting the concept of a profession

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Abstract
In this article we revisit the concept of a profession. Definitions of the concept are readily encountered in the literature on professions and we have collected a sample of such definitions. From this sample we distil frequently occurring elements and ask whether a synthesis of these elements adequately explains the concept. We find that bringing the most frequently occurring elements together does not adequately address the reason that society differentiates professions from other occupations or activities -- why there is a concept of ‘profession’ at all. We suggest an alternative approach that attempts to make sense of the concept at a more general level. This more philosophical approach employs analytical tools from Julius Kovesi, Patricia Hanna and Bernard Harrison to address the question of what is the point of the concept.
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First archival date: 2015-11-21
Latest version: 2 (2020-04-28)
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2015-08-12

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