Reappreciating W. D. Ross: Naturalizing Prima Facie Duties and a Proposed Method

Journal of Mass Media Ethics 26 (4):316-331 (2011)
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Abstract

The goal of this article is to try to resolve two key problems in the duty-based approach of W. D. Ross: the source of principles and a process for moving from prima facie to actual duty. I use a naturalistic explanation for the former and a nine-step method for making concrete ethical decisions as they could be applied to journalism. Consistent with Ross's position, the process is complicated, particularly in tougher problems, and it cannot guarantee correct choices. Again consistent with Ross, such complexity and uncertainty speak in the method's favor, given the difficulty—factual, motivational, and organizational—of ethics problems and decision making.

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Author's Profile

Christopher Meyers
California State University, Bakersfield

References found in this work

A Theory of Justice: Revised Edition.John Rawls - 1999 - Harvard University Press.
Principia ethica.George Edward Moore - 1903 - Mineola, N.Y.: Dover Publications. Edited by Thomas Baldwin.
The Right and the Good. Some Problems in Ethics.W. D. Ross - 1930 - Oxford: Clarendon Press. Edited by Philip Stratton-Lake.
Moral thinking: its levels, method, and point.R. M. Hare (ed.) - 1981 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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