Ethics in Communication

(Comm Studies 48C:128g:02/CAP128)

June Term (June 10-July 5), 2013, M,T.W.Th.F 9:50 a.m. – 12 noon

University of Northern Iowa / Lang Hall 345

Instructor:  Dr. Christopher Martin   

Office:  326 Lang Hall                             Office Hours: and by appt.

Tel:  (319) 273-6118                            Mailbox:  326 Lang Hall

E-mail: Blog:

UNI Catalog Description

Exploration of ethical dimensions and dilemmas in the field of communication.


We will be formulating decisions on ethical dilemmas in communications.  With practice and a more informed philosophical approach (gained through research of a number of classical ethical perspectives), we should be making better decisions by the end of the course, and be able to take those skills directly into real-world communication situations.


Mass Communication Ethics: Decision Making in Postmodern Culture, 2/e, Leslie, 2004 | Allyn & Bacon | Paper; 336 pp |  ISBN-10: 0205561063 | ISBN-13: 9780205561063


Professional Codes of Ethics and Federal Guidelines


Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) Code of Ethics

Associated Press Managing Editors (APME) Code of Ethics

Radio-Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) Code of Ethics

Public Relations

Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Professional Code of Standards


Federal Trade Commission (FTC) -- Frequently Asked Advertising Questions: A Guide for Small Business

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) Code of Advertising

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) Children's Advertising Review Unit

Business Ethics - Magazine for Corporate Responsibility

Federal Trade Commission Guidelines (Title 16 --Commercial Practices)


Chapter 3:  The Greek View



Chapter 4: Transition Figures

 Abelard -- Historia Calamitatum (The Story of My Misfortunes)

 St. Thomas Aquinas

 Francis Bacon

Chapter 5: Rebels

Niccolo Machiavelli

Thomas Hobbes

Francois Marie Arouet Voltaire -- Candide (1759)

Chapter 6: Traditionalists

 Benedict Spinoza

 Immanuel Kant

 John Stuart Mill

Chapter 7: The Continental Connection

Arthur Schopenhauer

Emile Durkheim  /  Cultural Ethical Relativism and the case of separating conjoined twins

Chapter 8: Modern Influences

Jean-Paul Sartre

Ayn Rand

Lawrence Kohlberg / Stages of Moral Development

Carol Gilligan  




 Judeo-Christian Tradition

Chapter 9: Postmodernist Approaches

 Michel Foucault

 Jean Baudrillard

More on Philosophers:

See "The Window:  Philosophy on the Internet" (Trinity College)

or Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy


Additional Sites of Interest:

ALA - Banned Books

FCC -Regulation of Obscenity, Indecency, and Profanity

FCC v Pacifica (1978)