A forum for users of any of my texts but really for anyone interested in interpersonal communication, the fundamentals of human communication, and public speaking.
Communication and Ethics
Here is an interesting case that would work well in any
communication class dealing with ethics.
In Sunday's New York Times, Chuck Klosterman, the Ethicist, was asked if it was ethical
for a beer company to bottle the exact same beer but package it in two
different type bottles with different labels, one “regular” and one “premium.”
The answer from the ethicist was that this was not unethical since the brewer
didn’t say these beers were different; it was left it up to the customer to
make the inference. “It only becomes
unethical,” says Klosterman, “if the brewer claimed the premium beverage was
literally different.” This is nonsense, IMHO. The brewer did say, claim,
communicate that the beers were different by the different bottles and the different
labels. The label “premium” means that the product is different from one that
is not labeled “premium.” To limit
communication to words seems a bit naïve and leaves us with a conclusion that
is intuitively incorrect and unacceptable. This was clearly an act of deception—the
intention of the brewer was to fool the buyer—but this goes unrecognized and
unidentified because the way in which communication works is misunderstood.