The Inconclusive Ethical Care Against Manipulative Advertising

1612 Words Mar 23rd, 2015 7 Pages
Question 1

Introduction Businessman and consultant Michael Philips ' essay “The Inconclusive Ethical Care Against Manipulative Advertising” provides a nuanced and compelling critique of ethical criticisms against manipulative advertising. While nevertheless conceding that the practice of manipulative advertising itself is problematic and unethical, he suggests that the premises upon which ethical criticisms of this practice rest are logically flawed, and fail to provide a cogent critique of how advertising apparently “socializes people to a life of consumption” (Phillips 37). Critics of manipulative advertising are cited by Phillips as couching their critiques within the language of ethics, a phenomenon which he believes fails to adequately conceptualize and criticize the intrinsic “evil” in this business practice. Phillips defines “manipulative advertising” by building upon philosopher Tom Beauchamp 's definition, which states that it encompasses “any deliberate attempt by a person P to elicit a response desire by P from another person Q by noncoercively altering the structure of actual choices available to Q or by nonpersuasively altering Q 's perceptions of those choices” (qtd in Phillips 33). In an effort to refute critics of manipulative advertising who couch their arguments in ethical terms, Phillips provides his own definition which states defines manipulative advertising as “advertising that tries to favourably alter consumers ' perceptions of the advertised…

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