Shannon A Bowen, Paul Prescott

Kant's contribution to the ethics of communication

The influence of the work of Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) on contemporary communication ethics is immense. The deontological approach to ethics Kant inaugurated profoundly transformed how human beings understand themselves, and provided an ethical framework that guides the practice of communication to this day. This paper offers an overview of Kantian ethics and traces the lineage of deontology in the various fields of public communication. Through a study of Kant and his application in organisational communication and behaviour, mass media, public relations, issues management, and marketing communication, we show the relevance of deontology today for the scholar, the student, and the professional communicator.

Keywords: Kant, communication ethics, deontological, duty, media


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Note on the contributor

Shannon A. Bowen, Ph.D., is Professor at the University of South Carolina where she studies organisational ethics. Paul Prescott, Ph.D., is on the faculty at Syracuse University. He specialises in philosophy and mass media ethics.