Utilitarianism and its principal architect, John Stuart Mill, are staples of media ethics teaching and analysis. However, utilitarianism, in its usual presentation, is offered as a simplistic arithmetic formula: Do the greatest good for the greatest number. This quantification approach, when attached to Mill, misinterprets this philosopher and robs media ethics discussions of the rich reflection that an important classical theory can bring. Mill is a particularly suitable philosopher for presentation to students of journalism and mass communication. Mill provides a (...) strong argument in favor of freedom of expression in addition to espousing a moral theory that is simultaneously protective of individual rights while promoting communitarian principles. But it is imperative to get Mill right. This essay attempts to do so and to offer a utilitarian decision tree for those who wish to properly apply Mill's theory in teaching and practice. (shrink)
Reporters and editors share values. If there were no shared values essential to the practice of journalism, it would be impossible to distinguish a journalist from other mass communicators. The set of journalistic values provides the base for an argument that journalists are pluralists, not relativists.
Practical ethics in context -- Teaching and learning ethics in an ethical environment -- Aspirations, activities, and assessment -- The theoretical toolkit -- Systematic case analysis -- Relativism and moral development -- A bridge across cultures.
Many journalists, readers and scholars exhibit confusion concerning the nature and justification of deception. In this article, we clarify those acts that should count as deception. Before discussing if any cases of deception can be construed as morally justified, we clarify which investigative, interrogative, and information-giving techniques are deceptive on their face. We also bracket borderline cases.
A team of philosophers and scientists at Dartmouth College worked for three years to create, train faculty and pilot test an adequate and exportable class in research methods for graduate students of science and engineering. Developing and testing methods for evaluating students’ progress in learning research ethics were part of the project goals. Failure of methods tried in the first year led to the refinement of methods for the second year. These were used successfully in the pilot course and in (...) one university setting external to Dartmouth. The process of development and justification for the final methods are discussed here. (shrink)
Citizens require independent reporting more than ever in the news coverage of conflict in the 21st century. The traditional role of national governments has been compromised both by terrorism and by technology that makes hard borders porous. It is unlikely that citizens or policymakers will cope with those changes unless they are reminded how the world has changed. That is an essential role for journalism, and provides a distinction between the terms nationalistic press and patriotic press. A nationalistic press simply (...) repeats governmental messages; a patriotic press reports independently and keeps fundamental interests of citizens in mind. (shrink)
In this article, we examine conceptual and practical issues pertaining to relationship boundaries within the helping profession. Although our focus is primarily on relationships between mental health professionals and clients, there are considerable implications for a new approach to ethically structuring and understanding the construct of "required distance" in many human-interactive professions, such as teaching, religious leadership, public administration, and others. We define the concept of boundary as applied to human relationships, provide examples of boundary breaks, and raise questions regarding (...) how to evaluate the significance and morality issues raised by specific boundary breaks. Questions and dilemmas are presented regarding boundary setting and accidental or deliberate boundary breaking. Representative dangers present in boundary breaks are identified, and examples are provided. Possible beneficial outcomes are also discussed. Finally, a suggested protocol for assessing a proposed boundary break is provided, much of which is drawn from the work and thinking of Laura Brown, applied more generally in this article, with additions from our perspectives. (shrink)
Individuals with a variety of disabilities benefit greatly from the ADA provision of easy public access with their service dogs. However, the growing problem of non-disabled individuals passing off their pets as service dogs both threatens public safety and can result in denial of access for legitimate service dog teams. We argue that requiring certification of service dog teams and furnishing qualified teams with state-issued ID tags, following a process similar to that for obtaining accessible-parking placards, is the least intrusive (...) way to protect access for legitimate teams and protect public safety. While some consider a certification requirement for service dog teams to be burdensome, balanced against the harms posed by easy public access for untrained or inappropriate dogs, the mild burden is justified. (shrink)
Here I discuss the notion of public duty and the broad moral system that provides a foundation for both professional and research ethics. I also discuss morally relevant similarities and differences between scientific research and research that is conducted within the context of a profession.
Ethics in the First Person is the first comprehensive guide to teaching and learning practical ethics to be published in more than 25 years. The processes for use in the teaching and learning of ethics are intended for ethics across the curriculum and the professions. The historical context for practical ethics as a discipline is explored, as is ethics in a cross-cultural context.