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Ethically Speaking is a weekly radio show produced by the Department of Journalism at the University of South Florida at St. Petersburg with special thanks to the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.

Thanks to Dean Ritz for his untiring philosophical and technical help and Eric Hutchins for the music.

If you need broadcast quality versions and/or transcripts of the radio shows, please contact Deni Elliott.

T H E white spaceR A D I O white spaceS H O W S
The Final Word (#165)
This iteration of Ethically Speaking closes with different ideas for what constitutes the final word in ethics.
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Torn Between Two Worlds (#164)
Do your workplace and home ethics differ or are you ethically consistent in all parts of your life?
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Journalist Impersonations (#163)
What's the story when government agents impersonate journalists?
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Do be do be do (#162)
The song of virtue ethics.
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Coercion Giftwrapped (#161)
When is a gift philanthropy, and when is it coercion?
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Service for two (#160)
Some medical professionals get caught in the middle.
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I'm so exceptional! (#159)
How can we overcome making exceptions for ourself?
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Don't blame me. Blame the system. (#158)
What is the ethical import of blaming the system not yourself?
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White lies (#157)
Are white lies good lies?
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Photographic Molestation (#156)
When is taking a photograph not just taking a photograph?
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Buddhist ethics (#155)
How karma comes into ethical judgments.
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Unprofessional Advice (#154)
What are realistic expectations for professional advice?
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Ethical Spies (#153)
What makes some spying ethical, and other spying not?
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Not just illegal, but unethical (#152)
If you must break the law, do so when no one is watching.
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Surveillance of Teachers (#151)
Students aren't the only ones being tested.
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False dilemma (#150)
When is a choice (such as between security or liberty) not a real choice?
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The limits of property (#149)
If it's my property, I can do anything I want with it. Right?
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A bribe is a bribe is a bribe (#148)
When is a bribe not a bribe?
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Cultural Imperalism (#147)
Is enforcing American standards about not buying positive news coverage a form of cultural imperalism?
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Do the Right Thing (#146)
What prevents us from doing the right thing?
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Keeping People Ignorant (#145)
If ignorance is no excuse, should we excuse people who keep us ignorant?
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Ethical Misunderstanding (#144)
What's the most misunderstood concept in ethics?
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Ethical Awareness (#143)
What can be said of a person who willingly tries to exceed ethical standards?
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Discriminitory Punishment (#142)
Do some crimes deserve special kinds of punishment? Why not others?
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Free Lunch (#141)
Is there such a thing as a "free lunch" between true friends?
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Wealth and Commonwealth (#140)
How does society justify abundant private wealth?
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Love thy neighbor (#139)
What is a baseline for your treatment of others?
"If we treat people as they are, we make them worse. If we treat people as they ought to be, we help them become what they are capable of becoming." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
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If you knew (#138)
What is the ethical response to unpleasant knowledge?
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Talking Bumper Stickers (#137)
Should state governments issue license plates with special messages on them?
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Every Picture Tells a Story... Or Does It? (#136)
Does computer editing of photographs undermine their utility?
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Majorities Rule the Village (#135)
Sometimes it takes a village. But what if we don't want to join in?
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A Responsible Response to Hurricane Katrina (#134)
Sometimes we have a duty to complain.
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Miniclinics (#133)
An example of when self-interest and doing good coincide.
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Forgive and Remember (#132)
What distinguishes forgiving someone from excusing them?
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Identity Wars (#131)
How is it that prejudice makes persecution easy?
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Liquid Diet (#130)
When can acting in your self interest be a good thing?
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Nationalism and Patriotism (#129)
Is there a difference? How is our nation motivated or hindered in its actions when motivated by one versus the other?
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A chip off the old block? (#128)
What makes cloning ethically different from conventional (i.e., sexual) reproduction?
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Balance of Power (#127)
When should states acquiesce to the federal government? When should they instead claim separate authority?
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Let them eat cookies (#126)
Billy wants his sister's cookie. But his parent instead serve him the categorical imperative.
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Consent and Coercion (#125)
If we respect the autonomy of others then coercion must be replaced with consent.
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Religion and Ethics (#124)
How does ethical thought incorporate religious beliefs?
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Carpe Diem (#123)
What does the future have to do with seizing the day?
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Non-Violent Revolution (#122)
Is war the only answer to liberating people from dictatorship?
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What's in a good friendship? (#121)
Friends are... well, what are they? What are the elements of a good friendship?
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Let's Play Doctor (#120)
Is is really best to be undressed when meeting a doctor for the first time?
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Citizen Celebrations (#119)
National holidays encourage learning and living up to American ideals.
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Peak Oil is Over the Top (#118)
How does ethical analysis help us live the good life within limits?
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The Lesson in Graduation Ceremonies (#117)
Just who can walk down that aisle and what can they wear?
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Speak Up. Get Fired (#116)
In most states you lawfully can be fired for your political beliefs.
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Helpful Clerk (#115)
Sometimes a sales clerk can be too helpful.
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The Gift (#114)
Is it better to give than to receive? Is there an ethic for gift giving that keeps a gift going?
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Robot Soldiers (#113)
The U.S. Department of Defense initially is spending $127 billion to develop robots, replacing human beings in combat thereby reducing risks to American soldiers. How will this affect our willingness to go to war?
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Do or do not unto others? (#112)
What is the ethical difference between two religious adages, "do unto others" and "do not do unto others"?
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A special gift or a limited future? (#111)
What is a parent's ethical obligation to help their child develop their special gifts... or not?
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Just who are you on the Internet? (#110)
On the Internet, no one knows you. So, why not lie about yourself?
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Agents and Advocates (#109)
The role of ombudsman is found in many public organizations. It distinguishes between advocacy and agency. What's the difference?
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[Insert Racist Comment Here] (#108)
Do we have an ethical obligation to respond to offensive speech? How about, just to listen to it?
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Honor and Kill Your Parents (#107)
How do the differences between principles and practices influence our perception of right and wrong?
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Virtual Classrooms (#106)
How is it that by not knowing people in person you end up knowing their person really well?
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The Equal Right to Legal Marriage (#105)
What is the legal principle for claims to legalize same sex marriage? The answer is, equality before the law.
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Nose to Nose in a Restaurant (#104)
The hostess seats a bottle of cologne right next to your table, overwhelming your sense of smell and taste.
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How to Treat Service Dogs--and their masters--with Respect (#103)
Don't you want to just hug a service dog? Pet it? Give it treats? Well, don't! Here's why.
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Toxic Workplace (#102)
What can you do to make a toxic workplace better?
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Protecting College Students' Tender Parts (#101)
Conservative students allege that liberal bias on college compuses offends their intellectual sensitivities. How do these complaints compare with the process of learning?
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Caring for aging parents (#100)
Do we have an obligation to care for our aging parents as we do our children?
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I love being wrong! (#99)
It doesn't always feel good to be wrong, but sometimes it can feel great.
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Is sharing stealing? (#98)
Does it take a thief to share a garbage can with a neighbor? To drink out of a friend's cup of coffee in a restaurant?
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It was an accident! (#97)
Your kid is injured at the house of a friend. Your medical insurer wants to know if someone else -- besides them -- should pay the bill. Do you turn in your friend?
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What's a lie between friends? (#96)
According to the New York Times, here’s what our military leaders are debating today: “Is it okay to ‘manipulate’ information that we share with neutral and allied nations?”
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Learn Locally, Shop Locally (#95)
When you get advice from a local store do you incur an obligation to keep your business local?
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A New Year's resolution against complicity (#94)
Forget eating more vegetables or taking more dog walks (unless you have a dog, of course). Perhaps, for next year, resolve yourself to observe how you sometimes enable bad behavior in others (including your dog).
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Moral values? Sure! But which ones? (#93)
What's missing from claims that the presidential election hinged on "moral values"?
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The Scope of Concern Regarding US Elections (#92)
In thinking about our elections should you only be concerned with the impact upon yourself? Your family? Your country and not the rest of the world? Just humans and not any other animal?
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The Birth Tax (#91)
With the federal deficit at 7.5 trillion dollars (and counting), is it ethical that those who cannot give their consent – especially the as-yet unborn Americans – should be forced to assume this burden?
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Looking for loopholes (#90)
Few suggest that people pay taxes they don't owe, but how far should we go in seeking loopholes?
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Animal Rights are for Turkeys (#89)
What do you do if you believe turkeys possess rights?
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Interests and Tactics (#88)
Where do we start when we have such divisions?
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Freedom of Sports (#87)
Don't people have better things to do with their money than spending them on celebrity sports?
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The Party is Over (#86)
With the Presidential election over, do citizens have duties beyond that of voting?
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Winner Take All "Democracy" (#85)
Is a winner-take-all election compatible with democratic ideals?
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E-Waste (#84)
Where should gadgets go when they die?
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Promoting Election Literacy (#83)
Just because the young can't vote doesn't mean they can't participate.
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He said, he said (#82)
What can we make of political reporting that limits itself to quoting what candidates say?
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Sowing the seeds of dissent (#81)
Should we work to make foreign citizens unhappy with their governments?
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That's the Ticket! (#80)
Should you avoid responsibility for a parking ticket if you won't get caught?
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Escaping Prison (#79)
Should a criminal history define your future?
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Divorce for a Bigger Family (#78)
What are the positive opportunities of a divorcing family?
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Such beautiful plastic... surgery (#77)
What's the ethical difference between natural and modified beauty?
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Performance Enhancing Drugs (#76)
Why not create the Steroid Olympics and return fairness to athletic competitions?
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Transhumanism (#75)
If humans had wings to fly, would they still be human? How much enhancement is too much enhancement?
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Gossip (#74)
When is it unethical to talk about other people?
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Vegetarian for Dinner (#73)
What they don't know won't hurt them -- or will it? Should I tell a vegetarian dinner guest that I accidentaly added some chicken broth to dinner?
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Pool Party (#72)
What might distinguish two similarly generous acts?
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Self-regarding and other-regarding behavior (#71)
Where do we draw the line in determining how our actions affect others?
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Brother, can you spare a million? (#70)
When is it ethically justified to pay one person more than another?
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Public Privacy (#69)
Anything we do in public is open to public scrutiny, right? You can't claim that you have a right to privacy when you're in a park or a shopping mall.a little speaker image Hear It

Good Dog. Bad Owner. (#68)
What happens when Fido bites?
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Speaking Up (#67)
Sometimes, a group working to solve a problem simply adopts the first decent idea that comes along. Isn't that good enough?
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Consent to Marriage (#66)
You get married and later find out some important fact like your partner is sterile or is deeply in debt. Should your consent to get married count as genuine?
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Celebration Promotes our Best Behavior (#65)
How may celebration encourage our best behavior?
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Torture and Human Nature (#64)
Americans are shocked with the allegations that U.S. soldiers have tortured Iraqi prisoners. Is such treatment just human nature?
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Selling on E-Bay (#63)
How much should I disclose when selling a less-than-perfect item on an Internet auction site?
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My country right or wrong (#62)
Should we cease looking for our government's past mistakes in times of crisis?
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Me do what? (#61)
Your boss asks you to tell a little lie on his behalf. What should you do?
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Roll Call of the Dead (#60)
Recently, ABC’s Nightline program, included reading the names of more than 700 U.S. soldiers who have died in the Iraq war. Is this an anti-war comment by ABC?
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Ethics and Opinion (#59)
I have my opinion. You have yours. That's ethics. Well, not really.
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Loyalty and Fairness (#58)
How should we recognize our desire for express loyalty with our interest in fairness?
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Torturing Terrorists for the Greater Good (#57)
Should our government torture suspected terrorists?
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The "Many Hands" Problem (#56)
What's our liability for being a tiny part of a big problem?
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Spin Cycle (#55)
Is spin just politics as usual or is there an ethical issue?
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Universal Morality (#54)
Are there ethical rules that apply to all people across cultures? Across time? Aren’t there some things that are simply right or wrong?
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Being Your Best (#53)
It is admirable to act ethically on any particular occasion. A steady stream of ethical acts, however, is an expression greater than the sum of the individual acts.
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Community Standards for Television (#52)
The uproar regarding Janet Jackson's recent, well, disclosure... got us thinking about the values of being offended and the meaning of community standards.
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Nepotism (#51)
Should employers have strict rules against nepotism?
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Breaking The Rules (#50)
A fast food chain had a slogan some years back that said, "Sometimes you gotta break the rules!" Do you think there are times that one is justified in breaking the rules? When?
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Ethics of Justice, Ethics of Care (#49)
This show compares and contrasts two ethical theories: the ethics of justice, and the ethics of care.
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Biology as Burden (#48)
Only women get pregnant, but they can't do it alone. Is it ethical, then, that women should be primarily held responsible for preventing pregnancy? In other words, is it ethical to hold a person accountable for their biology?
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Obligation to Give (#47)
When $45 can provide life-saving immunizations to 3 children in your town, is it ethical for you to buy another pair of shoes when you could instead direct that money to that charitable purpose?
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Humor or Abuse? (#46)
When does a practical joke cross the line and become abuse?
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Acting out of Fear (#45)
Sometimes we act out of fear. Is fear ever a good reason for making a choice of action?
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Excuses (#44)
Some of our listeners have asked about the foundations of ethics. So, the first week of the month we’re going to take on those core questions. So today we take a look at excuses.
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Yes, there is a Santa Claus? (#43)
More than 100 years ago, New York Sun Editor Frank Church reassured a young reader that "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus." Some parents today are unsure about what their children should believe about Santa Claus and other cultural myths. What do you think?
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Loyalty and Willful Silence (#42)
What is the problem, if any, when troops publicly complain about their circumstances?
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Why Marry? (#41)
Is it ethical to marry another person for reasons other than love? What is so ethical about marrying for love?
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Ethics and Legal Compliance (#40)
For the first show of each month we take a look at a foundational idea regarding ethics. This show takes a look at how ethical judgments differ from legal accountability.
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The 'Urge' to be Charitable (#39)
Holiday seasons are full of requests for charitable donations. What kinds of appeals get you to give, and why?
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The Paternal State (#38)
A lot of the laws we have are based on protecting us from ourselves. Seatbelt laws, helmet laws, laws prohibiting the importation of pharmaceuticals. All ostensibly keep individuals from harming themselves. Would you call these laws a violation of liberty?
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Role of Fate (#37)
Ethics asks us to consider our actions. What role does fate play in influencing your actions? Share with us a time when an ethical decision seemed fated, seemed beyond your control.
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Origin of Ethics (#36)
Each of us has a sense of 'right' and 'wrong.' Where does this sense come from?
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Music Sharing (#35)
The music industry is threatening to take individuals to court -- including a 12 year-old child -- because they allegedly shared files of copyrighted music. Is this bullying? Why or why not?
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Ethical Animals (#34)
Can a non-human animal act unethically?
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Human Rights (#33)
Most philosophers would say that individuals have human rights that are more fundamental than those protected by law. Does it make sense to say that people have rights if these rights are not protected?
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Fidelity (#32)
You come to college depressed about leaving your sweetheart back home. Your promises to one another to stay faithful are not enough to fill your loneliness. An attractive classmate now asks you out. You go and don't mention the back-home sweetheart; nor do you mention your new friend in conversations with the back-home sweetheart. Is this a problem?
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Ethics and Constancy (#31)
Is there a danger to oneself in acting unethically? If you are honest most of the time, is it okay to lie now and then?
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Terrorism and War (#30)
Political terrorists kill innocent others in the name of ideology. Some terrorists justify this damage on the basis that they are engaged in 'war' and, unfortunately, innocent people are hurt in war. Are terrorism and war ethically different or not?
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Pills of Contentment (#29)
Let's say someone offered you a pill that could stop you from desiring things that you don't have. The pill would make you content with who you are and what you've got right now. The pill would provide a child-like contentment. Would you take this pill?
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Implementing Justice (#28)
Politicians speak much about "justice being served," but they're usually referring to criminal justice. In what ways does a society implement justice?
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Democracy and the Power of "Big Money" (#27)
Democracy is meant to widely distribute political power to citizens. How, then, should a democracy ethically deal with the political power of 'big money'?
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Women's Work (#26)
Aside from the job of a wet nurse, there is little reason to call something "women's work," or is there? How is "women's work" different from that of men?
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Corporate "Negative Free Speech" vs. a Peoples' Right to Know (#25)
Corporations have successfully asserted a right not to speak about how their products are produced. For example, corporations cannot be forced to disclose the use of child labor, or if our milk was produced using bovine growth hormones. Do we people have a right to know how products are produced?
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Voluntary Disclosure by Salesperson (#24)
Assuming you didn't ask him for particulars, is it ethical for a salesmen to withhold negative information about the product he's trying to sell to you? Does it matter if the product is something inexpensive, or something expensive, such as an automobile?
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The Duty to be Certain (#23)
Everybody is fallible. We're only human. But do political leaders, have a special duty to be certain? How should we hold them responsible if their convincing information turns out to be dead wrong?
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The Spirit of Sacrifice (#22)
Those who make personal sacrifices for the benefit of others are sometimes called "heroes" and sometimes called "suckers." Tell us a sacrifice that you've made and how you justified it.
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Smoking and Ethical Duties to Yourself (#21)
Some philosophers says we have ethical duties to ourselves. Is smoking a violation of this ethical duty to yourself?
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Genetically Determined Behavior (#20)
Research into genetics affirms that many human behaviors are programmed into us -- not learned. If, say, 'aggression', were discovered to be a genetic trait, would it be ethical to hold people responsible for acting aggressively?
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Getting Your Way with Flattery (#19)
They say "You catch more flies with sugar than vinegar". But when does charm become flattery, and is it unethical to use flattery to get your way?
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The Power of Myth (#18)
An old lesson of politics is that once power is gained, use it to promote your leaders not as celebrities but as heroes, and then attack opponents as unpatriotic. In a democracy is it ethical to use this technique to achieve political ends?
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Believing in the News (#17)
The New York Times recently determined that one its journalists repeatedly fabricated, plagiarized and otherwise falsified his stories. That reporter is gone, and the need for truthful reporting remains. How do you decide what to believe when you listen to or read the news?
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Women in Trouble (#16)
Like CEOs Bernie Ebbers of WorldComm, and Kenneth Lay of Enron, Martha Stewart appears to be just another poster child for corporate crime. But is her poster larger than those of men? Do you think women in trouble receive different public scrutiny than do men in similar trouble?
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The Conditions of Forgiveness (#15)
Everyone has had the experience of being caused harm by another. But, forgiveness is a different matter. Under what conditions do you think people should forgive? Under what conditions is forgiveness not appropriate?
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False Promises (#14)
Is it unethical to make a promise to a dying person in order to comfort them if you know you be unable to fulfill that promise?
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Moral Mistakes (#13)
Everyone makes moral mistakes. Sometimes those mistakes are unintentional -- we cause harm to someone without even realizing it. But, sometimes those mistakes are intentional -- we lie to protect ourselves or someone close to us, we take advantage of situations in ways that we wouldn't allow for others. What lessons have you learned through your moral mistakes?
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Product Purchases and their Country of Origin (#12)
In making a purchase of an item, do you take into consideration where it was made? Does it matter if the product was made in a sweatshop, on in a country opposed to U.S. policies? Why or why not?
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Favoritism (#11)
We are used to taking care of those close to us -- our families and friends. Yet, ethics tells us that in some ways we need to be impartial -- that we need to treat everyone fairly whether we like them or not. What are some examples in which fairness is more important than favoritism?
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(In)Correct Change at the Farmer's Market (#10)
After buying your produce, you realize you were given twenty dollars rather than five dollars in change. It is unethical to keep the extra $15? Does it make a difference if this happens at Big Box Store rather than the Farmer's Market?
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Legitimate Authority of Governments (#9)
Some people say that Iraq will not be stable until Iraqi citizens accept someone or some group of persons as having "legitimate authority" to govern. What does "legitimate authority" mean to you? What gives someone the moral right to lead?
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Duty (#8)
Duty is a concept central to ethics. Some weeks ago we discussed voting as a duty of citizenship. Are there or should there be other mandatory duties of citizenship?
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Conflict Analogy (#7)
One listener suggested that conflicts between nations are just extensions of the kind of conflicts that individual people have with each other. How are the conflicts between nations like the interpersonal ones you experience?
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Human Obligation to Animals (#6)
Most folks agree that we have different obligations to people than we have to non-human animals. But, do we owe anything to animals? If so, what do we owe and why?
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Bankruptcy to Avoid Environmental Liability (#5)
A factory releases toxic material, contaminating nearby drinking wells. The corporation files for bankruptcy hoping to avoid the full costs of its liability. Is it ethical to use bankruptcy laws for this purpose? Does it matter if the contamination was deliberate or accidental?
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Surveillance (#4)
Surveillance techniques are increasingly sophisticated and commonplace. We are all familiar with security cameras in public places, and we know that our employer may read our e-mail. So, do you think it's wrong to be subject to involuntary surveillance?
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Joe Millionaire (#3)
Primetime TV has just seen the end of yet another wildly popular reality show, Joe Millionaire. The twist of Joe Millionaire, this modern-day "Dating Game" is that the 20 nubile hopefuls were told that Joe was a multi-millionaire. In real reality, however, he wasn't. The women contestants were duped. Tell us, what are the ethical issues here?
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Voting (#2)
Here, in America, citizens have a right to vote. In Australia, they have a responsibility to vote. Voting is required by law. Is it unethical if U.S. citizens choose not to vote? Why or why not?
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"Must Lie" Situations (#1)
An episode of Seinfeld focused on "must lie" situations. The situation in question was whether the characters should truthfully tell a friend that her new baby was ugly. Can you think of a "must lie" situation or would you say that it is always wrong to lie?
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Deni Elliott holds the Poynter Jamison Chair in Media Ethics and Press Policy and is full professor in the Department of Journalism at the University of South Florida, St. Petersburg. She is also the Ethics Officer for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.

Prior appointments include Mansfield Professor of Ethics and Public Affairs (1992-1996), University Professor of Ethics (1996-2004), Professor of Philosophy (1992-2004), and Founding Director, Practical Ethics Center (1996-2004) at the University of Montana; founding director, Ethics Institute (1988-1992), Adjunct Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy and Research Professor, Department of Education at Dartmouth College. Prior to Dartmouth, Dr. Elliott taught at Utah State University, leaving as a tenured Associate Professor in the Department of Mass Communication.

Dr. Elliott's publications have spanned the disciplines of practical ethics. She is the author of more than 100 articles and book chapters for the scholarly, trade and lay press. Her books include Ethics in the First Person, A Guide to Teaching and Learning Practical Ethics (Rowman & Littlefield, 2007), The Kindness of Strangers, Philanthropy in Higher Education (Rowman & Littlefield, 2006), Journalism Ethics: Contemporary Issues, (ABC-CLIO, 1998), Ethics of Scientific Research, A Guidebook for Course Development, (UPNE, 1997), Research Ethics: A Reader (UPNE, 1997). The Ethics of Asking: Dilemmas in Higher Education Fundraising was published by Johns Hopkins University Press in 1996, and Responsible Journalism was published by SAGE in 1986. She has also produced three documentaries. Her latest co-production, The Burden of Knowledge, considers the new moral questions created by pre-natal genetic testing. Her two earlier co-produced documentaries, A Case of Need and Buying Time, focus on the role of news media in bringing about extraordinary medical care. All three documentaries are distributed by Fanlight Productions. From February, 2003-June, 2006, she co-hosted "Ethically Speaking," a weekly radio show syndicated through PRX (Public Radio Exchange).

Dr. Elliott has a B.A. in Communication from the University of Maryland, M.A. in Philosophy from Wayne State University and an interdisciplinary doctoral degree in Philosophy of Education from Harvard University with study at the Kennedy School of Government, Department of Philosophy, Graduate School of Education, and Harvard Law School.

Upcoming books include An Involuntary Adventure, a book which chronicles the social and ethical insights she found while being treated for breast cancer, and On The Edge, an irreverent look at unusual animal-human relationships.

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