ETHC445 Principles of Ethics
Week 2 Discussion
American writer Mark Twain warned that "Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect." This is a common sentiment that we experience at different points throughout our lives. It is likely that your parents warned you "not to follow the crowd," or your school counselors warned you about "peer pressure."
The United States utilizes a democratic republic form of government, which espouses the "majority rule" in many instances. For example, when passing laws, Congress and state Legislators use majority voting. When electing our officials, the majority rules. But, is our government unethical?
This week's discussion will examine majority findings or rules:
The great majority of people seem to find nothing objectionable about the use of commercials in children's television programming. Yet a distinguished panel commissioned by the National Science Foundation found reason to disagree. After reviewing 21 relevant scholarly studies, they concluded:
It is clear from the available evidence that television advertising does influence children. Research has demonstrated that children attend to and learn from commercials, and that advertising is at least moderately successful in creating positive attitudes toward and the desire for products advertised. The variable that emerged most clearly across numerous studies as a strong determinant of children's perception of television advertising is the child's age. Research clearly establishes that children become more skilled in evaluating television advertising as they grow older, and that to treat all children from 2 to 12 as a homogenous group masks important, perhaps crucial differences.
Do you think the majority view is correct in this case? What difference would it make that a majority thinks this way?
Do you think the use of commercials in children's television programming raises any ethical questions? Explain your reasoning.
Do you wish to place evidence for what you say before your classmates?
Be sure to utilize the readings and ethical theories for this week to highlight key aspects of your responses.