Ethics and Persuasion Term Paper

Pages: 3 (880 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Business - Ethics

Ethical Behavior and Persuasion

Persuasion is the communications process (or "art") of convincing others of the correctness of your position or situational analysis, particularly in circumstances where they do not share your views at the outset of the exchange. There are many different types of tactical approaches to persuasion, but one of the most fundamental distinctions in that between ethical (or "good-faith") approaches and unethical (or "bad-faith") and the difference between honest argument dishonest argument.

Another important issue is the theoretical characterization of the purpose of argument. In that regard, some theories condone (even require) unethical argument tactics where necessary to achieve that which is objectively "good" in principle (Mihaly, 2007). Conversely, other theoretical characterizations prohibit unethical approaches to argument even when adhering to objective ethical rules results in that which is objectively "bad" (Mihaly, 2007). Unfortunately, the contemporary American political landscape and much of the big business community have become a natural laboratory for studying the depths of moral turpitude to which the strategy and tactics of persuasive argument can sink when individuals and groups take a "win-at-all-costs" approach at the expense of any semblance of ethics in persuasion (Stevens, 2008).

Ethical Theories in Persuasion

Virtue EthicsBuy full Download Microsoft Word File paper
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Term Paper on Ethics and Persuasion Assignment

According to virtue ethicists, the moral character of the mechanisms and means of accomplishing goals depends largely on the objective moral quality of the underlying purpose or objective sought through those means (Mihaly, 2007). In general, that means that lying may be perfectly moral (and telling the truth decidedly immoral) in circumstances where lying furthers moral "good" and where telling the truth furthers immorality. As applied to persuasion, that suggests that to the extent the purpose of a particular argument is to accomplish moral good (defined objectively), any persuasive tactic in argument is morally acceptable. Typical situations in which virtue ethics are actually applied would include the proverbial murderer asking for the whereabouts of his innocent intended victim.

According to virtue ethics, lying to the murder would be moral and providing the information by answering honestly would be immoral (Mihaly, 2007). Another example might be lying to a kidnapper in negotiations to free his hostages safely (Mihaly, 2007). While there are infinite logical complexities involved in determining exactly which specific goals justify dishonest or otherwise unethical approaches to persuasive argument, most would agree that virtue ethics analysis is appropriate in many situations.

Strict Rule Utilitarianisms

The diametrically opposite approach from virtue ethics is strict rule utilitarianism in which the principal determining factor distinguishing ethical from unethical conduct is whether following a particular course of action (or rule) by everyone at all time leads to an outcome that is objectively better than ignoring… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Ethics and Persuasion" Term Paper in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Ethics and Persuasion.  (2011, January 24).  Retrieved March 28, 2020, from

MLA Format

"Ethics and Persuasion."  24 January 2011.  Web.  28 March 2020. <>.

Chicago Style

"Ethics and Persuasion."  January 24, 2011.  Accessed March 28, 2020.