After reading this chapter, the student will be able to:
- Understand the legal, cultural, philosophical, and social origins of ethics in public speaking;
- Explain the difference between plagiarism and correct appropriation of source materials;
- Understand the value of ethics in building a solid reputation as a speaker;
- Correctly use source material in a presentation
- 3.1: Sources of Ethical Stances on Communication and Public Speaking
- Public speaking, or “rhetoric” as it was originally called, has long been considered a method in Western culture of building community, facilitating self-government, sharing important ideas, and creating policies. In fact, these are the reasons the ancient Athenian Greeks emphasized that all citizens should be educated in rhetoric: so that they could take part in civil society. Aristotle said that if a man was expected to defend himself physically and his ideas rhetorically.
- 3.2: Credibility and Ethics
- Modern scholars of communication and persuasion speak more about “credibility” as an attitude the audience has toward the speaker, based on both reality and perception, rather than an innate trait of the speaker. Audience members trust the speaker to varying degrees, based on the evidence and knowledge they have about the speaker and how that lines up with certain factors.
- 3.3: Plagiarism
- Although there are many ways that you could undermine your ethical stance before an audience, the one that stands out and is committed most commonly in academic contexts is plagiarism. A dictionary definition of plagiarism would be “the act of using another person’s words or ideas without giving credit to that person” (Merriam-Webster, 2015).