Ethical Communication: Moral Stances in Human Dialogue

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Proponents of professional ethics recognize the importance of theory but also know that the field of ethics is best understood through real-world applications. This book introduces students and practitioners to important ethical concepts through the lives of major thinkers ranging from Aristotle to Ayn Rand, John Stuart Mill to the Dalai Lama.

Some two dozen contributors approach media ethics from five perspectives—altruistic, egoistic, autonomous, legalist, and communitarian—and use real people as examples to convey ethical concepts as something more than mere abstractions. Readers see how Confucius represents group loyalty; Gandhi, nonviolent action; Mother Teresa, the spirit of sacrifice. Each profile provides biographical material, the individual’s basic ethical position and contribution, and insight into how his or her moral teachings can help the modern communicator. The roster of thinkers is gender inclusive, ethnically diverse, and spans a broad range of time and geography to challenge the misperception that moral theory is dominated by Western males.

These profiles challenge us not to give up on moral thinking in our day but to take seriously the abundance of good ideas in ethics that the human race provides. They speak to real-life struggles by applying to such trials the lasting quality of foundational thought. Many of the root values to which they appeal are cross-cultural, even universal.

Exemplifying these five ethical perspectives through more than two dozen mentors provides today’s communicators with a solid grounding of key ideas for improving discussion and attaining social progress in their lives and work. These profiles convey the diversity of means to personal and social betterment through worthwhile ideas that truly make ethics come alive.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780826218469
  • Publisher: University of Missouri Press
  • Publication date: 4/13/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 232
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Clifford G. Christians is Research Professor of Communications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and his books include Media Ethics: Cases and Moral Reasoning, now in it eighth edition.

John C. Merrill is Professor Emeritus of Journalism at the University of Missouri-Columbia and author or editor of more than two dozen books including most recently Media, Mission, and Morality.

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Table of Contents

Introduction Clifford G. Christians Christians, Clifford G. John C. Merrill Merrill, John C. 1

Pt. I The Altruistic Stance: Loyalty to Others 9

1 Tenzin Gyatso, the Dalai Lama: Universal Compassion John C. Merrill Merrill, John C. 11

2 Jesus: Loving Neighbors Mary Hulst Hulst, Mary 18

3 John Stuart Mill: Utilitarianism Raphael Cohen-Almagor Cohen-Almagor, Raphael 25

4 Carol Gilligan: Ethics of Care Lee Wilkins Wilkins, Lee 33

5 Martin Luther King, Jr.: Ethics of Personalism William Babcock Babcock, William 40

6 Mother Teresa: The Ethics of Sacrifice Janice Hume Hume, Janice 46

Pt. II The Egoistic Stance: Loyalty to Self 53

7 Aristotle: Self-Development Lee Anne Peck Peck, Lee Anne 55

8 Friedrich Nietzsche: Becoming an Ubermensch Clifford G. Christians Christians, Clifford G. 61

9 Machiavelli: Pragmatic Realism John C. Merrill Merrill, John C. 68

10 Camus: The Rebellious Spirit David J. Gunkel Gunkel, David J. 74

11 Kautilya of India: Social Egoism John C. Merrill Merrill, John C. 81

12 Ayn Rand: Rational Self-Interest John C. Merrill Merrill, John C. 86

Pt. III The Autonomy Stance: Loyalty to Freedom 93

13 Henry David Thoreau: Value of Solitude Stephanie Craft Craft, Stephanie 95

14 John Locke: Natural Rights Patrick Lee Plaisance Plaisance, Patrick Lee 102

15 Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Courage versus Authority Ronald C. Arnett Arnett, Ronald C. 109

16 Paulo Freire: Face Saving and Communication Ronald C. Arnett Arnett, Ronald C. 115

17 Hannah Arendt: Public as Authority Maurine Beasley Beasley, Maurine 121

Pt. IV The Legalist Stance: Loyalty toAuthority 127

18 Plato: Elite Norms Lee Anne Peck Peck, Lee Anne 129

19 Muhammad: Honor-Centered Morality Mohammad A. Siddiqi Siddiqi, Mohammad A. 136

20 Immanuel Kant: Importance of Duty Lee Anne Peck Peck, Lee Anne 145

21 Moses: Deontological Norms William Babcock Babcock, William 151

22 Thomas Hobbes: The Ethics of Social Order Stephen J. A. Ward Ward, Stephen J. A. 158

Pt. V The Communitarian Stance: Loyalty to the Community 165

23 Confucius: Ethics of Character Virginia Whitehouse Whitehouse, Virginia 167

24 Mohandas Gandhi: Fellowship of Power Lee Wilkins Wilkins, Lee 173

25 Karl Marx: Transcending Alienation Jon Bekken Bekken, Jon 180

26 John Dewey: Democratic Conversation Lee Wilkins Wilkins, Lee 186

27 Jurgen Habermas: Consensus and Citizenship David S. Allen Allen, David S. 193

28 Emmanuel Levinas: Priority of the Other Ronald C. Arnett Arnett, Ronald C. 200

Contributors 207

Index 211

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