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Ethical Speaking

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thejohngaltline
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I've just finished the assigned reading for my public speaking class in a book entitled Between One and Many. The first few chapters were pretty predictable; how to get over speech anxiety, how to organize a speech, how to pick a good topic... And then, out of nowhere, a chapter entitled "Ethical Speaking".

It opens with a description of the events that transpired on United Airlines flight 93, stating that "[The passengers] embodied the highest of ethical principles, sacrificing their own good for the greater good."

The chapter continues with a section entitled "Why care about ethics?" Ironically, it suggests that ethics are in one's own best interest and should therefore be studied, despite having just established the decidedly "evil" nature of such motivation. The authors then cover the sophists, stating that all truth is relative, situational ethics, stating that principles are fine so long as one can set them aside and make exceptions once in a while, and utilitarianism, stating:

As a speaker, you have an obligation to your audience to thoroughly research your subject to determine what position will ensure the greatest good and to put the greatest good ahead of mere personal gain.

(Emphasis mine.)

Not surprisingly, all of this is sprinkled with quotes from Kant.

Should be an interesting semester, huh?

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Did they quote any other philosophers? ..Was the implication that Kant was in agreement with the Sophists? That would be kind of amusing. :lol:

To their credit, they did quote Aristotle. It was about a speaker's character being his best tool of persuasion (don't have the book on me now), but the Kant quotes were pretty much used as fillers, sort of tepid, wishy-washy stuff that didn't define an exact viewpoint.

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To their credit, they did quote Aristotle. It was about a speaker's character being his best tool of persuasion (don't have the book on me now), but the Kant quotes were pretty much used as fillers, sort of tepid, wishy-washy stuff that didn't define an exact viewpoint.

That's probably because they don't consider it to be controversial to say those things at all, so it's usually mentioned in an off-handed manner.

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I've just finished the assigned reading for my public speaking class in a book entitled Between One and Many. The first few chapters were pretty predictable; how to get over speech anxiety, how to organize a speech, how to pick a good topic... And then, out of nowhere, a chapter entitled "Ethical Speaking".

Quoting philosophers is very flashy of course. Gives a book an intellectual touch - to laymen, that is. You should treat these quotations not as actual content, but as mere figures of speech; empty rhetorics. What do writers of 'public speech course books' think they know of philosophy anyway? And even if they know about it, what business do they have displaying it in non-philosophical works? :nerd:

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  • 4 weeks later...

I've studied philosophy for three years now and I can say that none of the "great philosophers" have ever been able to answer a question objectively and especially in the field of ethics, the all asert some form of utilitarian ideal and so always run in to problems that an objectivist would not. They try desperatly to create universal rules such as do not steal for their relative system (i.e. a system without rules) which is a complete contradiction.

Remember the quote from Franscico in Atlas Shrugged; there are no contradictions, if you find one check your premises.

Modern philosophers aren't concerned with objective reality but instead with trying to bend reality to their will, morality isn't a difficult subject, there are rights and wrongs, the right is to accept that existence exists and that your own life is the standard of value upon which it is measured, when you act according to your own rational mind all moral questions are easy, when you try to act as others tell you to you are in the wrong because you have surrender to your enemies the only thing they can never take away from you, your mind.

thejohngaltline I suspect your gonna spend several years at uni bored off your ass wondering why your lecturers who are supposed to be leaders in their fields dont' have a clue. Thats what I found and I sympathise.

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