Communication Ethics Tenets

These are the tenets that people should try to follow on my blogsite, when discussing a controversial topic.  Because there are rules of engagement in communication and the exchange of ideas. I don’t bring up controversy to stir the pot – I bring it up to discuss it and help myself and others understand that particular controversy better.  I did not come up with these tenets.  They are from the book, “Ethics in Human Communication” 6th Edition, authored by Richard L. Johanessen, Kathleen S. Valde, and Karen E. Whedbee. These tenets can be found on page 27 in the book.

They are:

1. Nothing and no one is immune from criticism.

2.  Anyone involved in a controversy has an intellectual responsibility to inform himself of the available facts.

3. Criticism should be directed first at policies, and against persons only when they are responsible for policies, and against their motives or against their purposes only when there is some independent evidence of their character, not derived from the consequences of their policies.

4.  Because certain words are legally permissible, they are not therefore morally permissible.

5. Before impugning an opponent’s motives, even when they legitimately may be impugned, answer his arguments.

6. Do not treat an opponent of a policy as if he was therefore a personal enemy of the country or a concealed enemy of democracy.

7.  Since a good cause may be defended by bad arguments, after answering those bad or invalid arguments, present positive evidence in behalf of your own position, or for your own alternatives.

8. Do not hesitate to admit lack of knowledge or to suspend judgment if the evidence is not decisive either way.

9. Only in pure logic and mathematics and *not* in human affairs can you demonstrate that something is impossible. Because something is logically possible, it is not therefore *probable*. The phrase “it is not impossible” really is a preface to an irrelevant statement about human affairs. In human affairs, especially in politics, the question is always a question of the balance of probabilities. The evidence of probabilities must include more than abstract possibilities.

10. When we are looking for truth of fact or wisdom of policy, the cardinal sin is refusal to discuss, or the taking of action that blocks discussion, especially when it takes the form of violence.


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