An Ethical Imperative for Technical Communicators

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Utilitarianism, the ethical system of free-market capitalism, is limited in that it sanctions contingencies. Immanuel Kant's second formulation of the categorical imperative-to treat ourselves and others not merely as means but also as ends-offers a clear and powerful ethic that enables technical communicators to subordinate contingencies to an understanding of people as rational entities possessed of full human dignity. John Rawls's (1971) model of an ideal society derives from and extends Kant's thinking on the primacy of human dignity in an ethical system.