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Class, Paper 2, Philosophy or Ethics, Readings, Writing

Nozick’s False Advertising


For the second paper in our class, I will be focusing on the ethics surrounding false advertising. This issue is concerned with the rights of others compared to the rights of freedom of speech. In deciding how to go about pursuing such a topic, I thought it would be valuable to perform a cited reference search on Robert Nozick’s Entitlement Theory essay. This article discusses justice and inequality based on entitlement, thus I thought there may be some intriguing essays that reference his work using an entitlement perspective to discuss the ethics of advertising.

I utilized Google Scholar to perform a cited reference search on Nozick’s essay and over 10,000 articles were found. Performing a search within these results for “false advertising,” I discovered 18 articles that cited Nozick’s Entitlement Theory and discussed false advertising. Immediately, I found one article titled “Advertisements, stereotypes, and freedom of expression” that appeared to be exactly what I would want for my topic. Unfortunately, this article could not be obtained with Bucknell’s privileges, so I went back to the results and found another article entitled “The Value of Rights” that also focused on my aforementioned topic.

Upon reading this article, I was immediately able to recognize the impact that such information will have towards my subject. The entire article concentrates on the values regarding the right to free speech. Lief Wenar, the author of the article, utilized the perspectives of different philosophers to answer his question about the rights associated with the freedom of speech. Analyzing this issue utilizing Nozick’s stance, Wenar likens the freedom of speech to Nozick’s discussion of the right to own property. Nozick argued against restricting property rights due to the harmlessness of property transfer, thus Wenar likens this to a belief in not restricting freedom of speech as long as it does not harm others. Another important benefit that this paper provides, is a viable case study that I may want to pursue for my final paper in Hustler Magazine v. Falwell. This case involves Jerry Falwell, a televangelist, suing Hustler Magazine for the internal infliction and emotional distress a Hustler parody caused towards Falwell.

All in all, the article that I have discovered from performing a cited reference search on Nozick’s Entitlement Theory has already proven to be valuable. Even more valuable are the other sources that I have uncovered, but have not even mentioned in this post. I believe these articles will provide a phenomenal starting off point for my paper on false advertising, but this will not be the only cited reference search that I will be utilizing. Recognizing the great power that such a technique holds, I will be using cited reference searches to discover most of the articles I use, as many of our philosophical ethic articles were published long ago.

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About Derek

I am a senior at Bucknell University where I am double majoring in Management and Psychology.

Discussion

6 thoughts on “Nozick’s False Advertising

  1. Derek, I was really excited to read your blog post because for my paper #2, I intend to discuss the ethics behind advertising alcohol to “minors” in Generation Y. I was struggling as to which ethical topic we discussed in class I should, and could easily, relate to my intended topic, and your search has begun to steer me in one direction. I think the freedom of speech idea could take my paper in a different route that I had not thought about before. So… thank you!

    Posted by Dana Silverstein | March 27, 2012, 9:44 am
  2. As a nerdy librarian I’m very excited to see that you were able to have success with your cited ref search, and that you will be using some of what you found for your upcoming paper. I do want to mention that we do indeed have access to the first article that you came across “Advertisements, Stereotypes, and Freedom of Expression” via the Social Science Research Network. Here is a link to download it, if you do want to use it for your second paper. And like I mentioned in my comment on Dana’s post, we have access to tons and tons of stuff that Google doesn’t know that we have, please don’t hesitate to ask if you are having trouble finding something!

    Posted by Brody Selleck | March 27, 2012, 2:07 pm
  3. I think the whole topic of “free speech” is an interesting one. What exactly are the limits of this right? When does someone cross the line? This kind of reminds me of our talk last class about Mike Daisey, and how he is fabricating stories about what’s going on in Chinese Apple factories. He’s exercising his right to freedom of speech, but is he crossing a line?

    Posted by Jenna | March 27, 2012, 2:25 pm
  4. I think the key question to consider here is the audience and the expectations of the audience. I was interested in the statement: “Wenar likens this to a belief in not restricting freedom of speech as long as it does not harm others.” I think in the case of false advertising, I think the freedom of speech does need to be restricted because the audience of the consumer is being victimized without even realizing it – thus being harmed. I like that Jenna applied this post to our conversation about Mike Daisey. As we talked about in class, we raised the question of would his stretching of the truth be justified if the audience was aware that some of his performance is fiction? Or is his ‘lying’ already justified because the medium he is presenting it in is a theatrical play?

    Posted by Beth O'Brien | March 27, 2012, 7:37 pm
  5. You really seem to like the word “likens.” But other than that I think that this will be an interesting topic to pursue. I am also looking into using Nozick or Rawls for my second paper and there are an immense amount of references out there that cite these articles. It will be interesting to see how Nozick would view freedom of speech in advertising and if this applies to his entitlement theory easily. Also, I like how you mentioned the Televangelist case at the end. I wrote a 30 page paper about them sophomore year and there is definitely a lot there in terms of ethics and people’s rights etc…you should pursue it. Lots of deaths associated with their sermons in the south/midwest over the years. I think theyre all crazy, but to each his own.

    Posted by Catherine Gibbons | March 27, 2012, 9:25 pm

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