Enlightened self-interest fails as an ethical baseline in public relations

Journal of Mass Media Ethics 9 (2):100 – 108 (1994)
Some in public relations have suggested that practitioners adopt a philosophy of enlightened self-interest as an ethical baseline. The author contends that such a theory must be rejected because even the enlightened variety does not adequately weigh the needs of significant others - a central consideration in any effort to define ethical behavior. The author maintains that genuine sacrifice - at times required of those desiring to do the right thing - clearly can conflict with any theory espousing self-interest as a baseline. Further, there is a social dimension to ethics. By virtue of occupational title, the author holds that public relations practitioners have a particular responsibility to advance the social order. Ethical behavior - especially as it relates to public relations - must go well beyond a narrow concern that no injustice is done to individual persons.
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    John Hospers (1961). Human Conduct. New York, Harcourt, Brace & World.

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