Ethical Communication: Moral Stances in Human Dialogue

Ethical Communication: Moral Stances in Human Dialogue

Ethical Communication: Moral Stances in Human Dialogue

Ethical Communication: Moral Stances in Human Dialogue

Synopsis

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.

Excerpt

In the postmodern world of shifting norms and displeasure with the idea of objectivity, there is a need for some stable concepts and identifiable stances. Without them, no fruitful dialogue on ethics can occur. In an era when ethical issues are more urgent than ever, the need for such a resource is a pressing one. The editors of this book hope that by presenting such moral perspectives within a five-stance typology, useful schema will emerge for seeking the right actions. Rather than give up on moral thinking in our day, the profiles of moral thinkers within this collection challenge us to take seriously the abundance of good ideas in ethics that the human race provides us. The profiles speak to real life struggles, but have the lasting quality of foundations. Many of the root values to which they appeal are cross-cultural and some are universal.

The five ethical perspectives exemplified on the following pages by two dozen moral mentors should provide seminal ideas for the communicators of today who desire improved discussion and social progress. Ethics has widespread roots that twist and turn around the globe, but all lead (some more directly than others) to the nourishment and preservation of a huge moral tree. What these moral teachers expound for us is diversity of means to the universal ends of personal and social betterment.

We have chosen to look at leaders who represent five different approaches to ethics. The profiles of these moral theorists presented here are superficial, of necessity. They only serve to focus the reader on the basic rudiments of individual ethical perspectives. It is true that in some respects all the ethicists’ thinking goes beyond the category . . .

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