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Honesty and Integrity in Advertising

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Handbook of Virtue Ethics in Business and Management

Part of the book series: International Handbooks in Business Ethics ((IHBE))

Abstract

According to many people, having honesty and integrity in advertising means possessing a strong disposition for telling the truth or at least avoiding lies and deception in producing advertisements. Although honesty and integrity tend to go hand-in-hand, the concept of integrity as a virtue often includes additional formal and evaluative characteristics. This chapter moves from an account of honesty, truthfulness, and integrity in Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics to more contemporary readings on the topic. As is noted, there has been significant and interesting philosophical work done on the relationship between the virtues of integrity and honesty in the recent past. Some of the central questions include: is integrity a virtue at all? if it is a virtue, what are its characteristic motivations? are these motivations merely formal or do they entail some sort of moral and/or epistemic responsibilities? Responses to these questions should have a distinct impact on advertising ethics in particular. In short, much of the research in normative and metaethics in these areas has yet to be applied to advertising ethics. This chapter will work through some of this research and along the way raise questions to help promote new research and scholarship opportunities. For example, if truthfulness is an epistemic virtue, would this require that advertisers consider the larger social impacts that advertising has on consumers’ cognitive and intellectual development? This would be an especially pressing concern when considering the relationship between body image types in ads and associated psychological problems, such as eating disorders. Also, could understanding integrity as a “cluster” concept provide some insight for better establishing work-life balance in advertising? This would be a pressing concern for honest advertisers working in organizations that are only concerned with employee productivity. Alternatively, would a wide and encompassing conception of integrity, which a “cluster” concept is, lack sufficient focus and create problems at theoretical and practical levels?

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Correspondence to Abe Joseph Zakhem .

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Zakhem, A.J. (2017). Honesty and Integrity in Advertising. In: Sison, A., Beabout, G., Ferrero, I. (eds) Handbook of Virtue Ethics in Business and Management. International Handbooks in Business Ethics. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-6510-8_86

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