William Damon 's The Death Of Honesty

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William Damon’s “The Death of Honesty” presents a solemn analysis of the decline of modern virtue due to a “dysfunctional tipping point” where honesty is no longer viewed as a moral characteristic worthy of pursuing. Dishonesty is presented as both a virtue and a vice that is shaping our contemporary society. The Hoover Institution of Stanford University published Mr. Damon’s article in 2012 under the Task Force on the Virtues of a Free Society, which would provide a target audience of students, educators, parents or anyone with an interest in sociology, specifically in the United States. A rhetorical analysis recognizes the appeals of ethos and pathos as successful tools in creating a connection with the readers, yet it exposes flaws in the author’s appeal of logic. The lack of developed logic does not support his thesis that “sustained civilization” is in lethal danger as a result of dishonesty alone.
The appeal of ethos is based on personal and academic achievement. As a senior fellow and professor of Stanford University with a background in child development and psychology, Mr. Damon has the experience to write on the subject of character development of children, as well as the failings of the academic world. Writing in the online volume of Stanford University’s “Endangered Virtues” further validates the author’s authority to speak on the subject. As a father, Mr. Damon would have a vested interest in the ability of the school system to influence his children.

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