What You Need to Know About : Ethics Theories

Theories about ethics attempt to answer the ancient human question, What is good? They are thereby inextricably linked to morals, values, and customs. In fact the words moral and ethics are not only cross-referenced in most English dictionaries, but the word moral comes from the Latin translation of the Greek word ethics, meaning moral character or custom. Throughout history all cultures have developed particular doctrines or philosophies of the good, many of which are classified in the West along four primary albeit overlapping lines: virtue ethics, which locates the good in virtuous character and qualities; deontological ethics, which locates the good in adherence to duties or principles; teleological ethics, which locates the good in the consequences of actions and choices; and dialogic ethics, which locates the good in the relations between persons.

During the 20th century, postmodern ethics, which developed largely in the West, has called these prior ethical systems into question by challenging the value of rules, procedures, systems, and fixed categories for understanding or theorizing ethics. In the field of communication ethics, scholars draw on all these ethical theories to address questions pertaining to issues such as truth, deception, and misrepresentation; propaganda, persuasion and argumentation; hate speech, harassment, and freedom of speech; secrecy, disclosure, and access; group decision making and institutional and corporate responsibility; ideology, hegemony, and justice; and conflict, diplomacy, and judgment, to name only a few.

Littlejohn, Stephen W and Karen A.Floss. (2009). Encyclopedia of Communication Theory.USA:SAGE.421

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Edwina Ayu Kustiawan