Friday, March 26, 2004

Clients, not customers 

Brian Leiter quotes a philosopher approvingly on the nonsense of calling students "customers".
A somewhat better model than that of commercial customer is that of professional client, in relation, for instance, to a doctor or lawyer. No one with any sense goes to their counselor and says: Prescribe this drug for me in this dosage, or file a lawsuit for me under this section of the Uniform Commercial Code. One goes instead for access to a different kind of judgment and advice, which one wants to take account of a whole range of possibilities and constraints initially visible only to the professional.
I'm not sure where I've argued this before, but a belief of mine stemming from the Microsoft antitrust cases is that service providers have a right to sell their services in the way they wish. You cannot force me to teach principles of economics in a certain way: You may choose not to pay me, and I may choose not to work for you. Hat tip: Cold Spring Shops, who has more about Pittsburgh's salutary intro to philosophy course. Stephen, here we require "critical reasoning", not often taught by full-time faculty.