In this paper, we explore the possible contributions of empirical moral philosophy to professional ethics in teacher education. We argue that it is both possible and desirable to connect knowledge of how teachers empirically do and understand professional ethics with normative theories of teachers’ professional ethics. Our argument is made in dialogue with the moral philosophy of Charles Taylor and the emerging tradition of ‘empirical ethics’ in psychiatry. We also draw on empirical data from a larger empirical project on teachers’ professional ethics in Norway. Our main contribution is the development of a method for empirical professional ethics that involves three steps: articulation, disturbance and expansion.