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Picking up The Slate

Greg is faced with an ethical dilemma. At one hand, giving Natalie an honest evaluation might negatively affect her GPA while giving her a bad review makes him feel petty and inconsiderate. The other team members will receive an A. Greg situation presents a typical scenario that requires employment of ethical theories to determine the right action from the wrong action. As such, this paper will use four common theories of ethics to guide Greg into making the right choice. Through a keen investigation into the four common theories, the paper will analyze Greg’s dilemma and give a recommendation on the action that is ethically right.

Ethical Analysis of Greg’s dilemma

According to the theory of consequentialism, the rightness or wrongness of each and every action must be considered on the basis of consequences that they produce (“THEORIES OF ETHICS – School of Education – Syracuse University”, 2017). The consequences are normally viewed in terms of the intrinsic value that they generate. According to this theory, utilitarianism is a common type of consequentialism that suggest that people should act in a manner that will give the greatest good for all. In this case Greg is in a dilemma on which action he should take (Association of Colleges and Universities, 2010). If he decides to give Natalie an honest opinion, then Natalie could have her GPA negatively affected. As a result of having a low GPA, Natalie may find it difficult to get any job in the job market. She may be forced to settle for a lower salary while the rest of her teammates enjoy good pay. She is also at risk of becoming neglected and depressed. Her chance of having a good team watching her back will surely be affected. The burden of negatively affecting Natalie’s GPA weighs heavily on him if he decides to give her an honest evaluation. On the other hand, he is not sure if giving her a false evaluation will may later be harmful to potential employers and people who may entrust Natalie on the basis of her GPA. Greg has to decide the less harmful consequence and choose it.

The second common theory of ethics is Kantian deontologism. The theory is based predominantly on the works of Immanuel Kant (“THEORIES OF ETHICS – School of Education – Syracuse University”, 2017). According to Kant, the course of action chosen should be universally accepted. As such, the rightness or the wrongness of an action depends on whether it conforms to the moral law of a people (“THEORIES OF ETHICS – School of Education – Syracuse University”, 2017). Greg has to consider if helping out a troubled Natalie to graduate with a decent GPA is more important as opposed to giving her an honest evaluation that may fail her. The question would be whether making Natalie suffer as a result of her poor work ethics is considered more acceptable than honesty and integrity. Depending on what is considered a moral law, Greg can make a choice that would be universally acceptable.

The third theory of ethics employed for this case scenario is natural law (Wilson, 2013). The theoretical position suggests that one may discover the principles of good and bad by looking at human nature and picking actions that will move towards the flourishing of humans (“THEORIES OF ETHICS – School of Education – Syracuse University”, 2017). Natalie has been a huge burden to the team. Greg has the chance to condemn her poor work ethics by giving her an honest evaluation though it might negatively influence Natalie’s GPA. Greg has also to weigh the implication that a poor GPA could have for Natalie. She will probably have to settle for less important jobs and lower pay as compared to if she had a good GPA. In addition, Natalie could potentially suffer from depression and feel neglected if she learns that the rest of her teammates got an A while she got a lower grade. Greg has to consider whether compromising his integrity so that Natalie gets a good chance is worth the trouble she could potentially face if she gets a low GPA.

The fourth theory of ethics to consider is the virtue ethics. This theory has two different approaches and it is therefore not clear. Approach number one suggests that the traits of people are either laudable or blameworthy (“THEORIES OF ETHICS – School of Education – Syracuse University”, 2017). Virtue ethics is concerned with systematically formulating traits of character which make the human behavior praiseworthy or blameworthy. In this case scenario, integrity and honesty can be considered to be praiseworthy traits while poor work ethics and stubbornness could be considered as blameworthy (Stephen, 2014). Greg has to give Natalie an honest evaluation even if it may negatively affect her GPA. An honest evaluation is considered a praiseworthy virtue that humanity embraces. In addition, Greg may consider this act to have positive future impacts since an individual molded in the right manner will have positive influence on the society as opposed to an individual who has poor work ethics. Natalie must learn to embrace praiseworthy traits in order for her to positively contribute to the community at large. You can find many more details about this theory of ethics in this code of ethics essay.


Individualism refers to a case whereby one strives to be self-reliant or independent. Individualists tend to resist any external influence in their day to day lives by the government or from any other member of the society. The proponents of individualism argue that an individual is the most critical element in the community and, hence, he/she must vehemently oppose any anarchy that is met out on him for him/her to remain liberated. Therefore, the primary objective of individualism is to sustain one’s rights and freedoms, which eventually lead to self-actualization. During the struggle for liberation in most states, various vital figures – such as Martin Luther King and Adam Smith – called for the enactment of policies that promoted their country’s individualism through publications. An evaluation of Martin Luther’s Open Letter to Christian Nobility, Francis Bacon’s Novum Organum, and Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations points out that Martin Luther has the most compelling approach towards individualism.

The Theme of Individualism as Brought out by Martin Luther King

Through his Open Letter to Christian Nobility, Luther calls upon all the Christians to struggle for liberation from the clergymen who have continuously violated their (the Christians) right to air out their concerns in religious matters. According to Luther, the clergymen have been taking advantage of three rules – three walls – which have been the genesis of corruption in Christendom. To start with, the priests dictated that the temporal power that they hold has no any jurisdiction over them. Instead, they argue that the spiritual power supersedes the earthly powers (Luther, 1). Luther notes that this is in contradiction to the rules, including the Biblical laws that dictate that every person should be reprimanded whenever he/she does contrary to the law (Luther 4). Even though every sin should be met with the appropriate punishment (Luther 4), the clergymen have neglected this principle by taking advantage of the temporal powers to the extent that they cannot be deposed if they sin. The spiritual leaders have also resisted being corrected according to the Biblical stipulations; instead, they argue that the interpretation of the scriptures is a preserve of the Pope (Luther 1). Finally, Luther claims that whenever a council that would investigate the conduct of the clergymen is to be formed, they (the clergymen) argue that it can only be constituted by the pope (Luther 1). Luther is of the opinion that the Christians should arise and question the integrity of their leaders if need be. He notes that by being baptized, all of them are equal and, thus, no one should take advantage of the other. All that one should do is have faith in God and recognize that there is no authority in the church (Luther 7). Therefore, Christians should disregard anyone trying to take advantage of his/her temporal powers to prevent the institution of a council that would guarantee transparency in the church affairs.

The Theme of Individualism as Brought out by Francis Bacon

Bacon is of the opinion that an individual should always cross-examine the ‘subtlety of things’ in his/her environment. Afterwards, he/she should come up with a reasonable judgment on what ought to be changed (Bacon 3). He argues that human power and human knowledge have a common point where they meet, but their effect can only be made use in cases where the cause as to why they have converged is known (Bacon 5). According to Bacon, there are two main approaches a person can make use of while responding to issues within his/her environment.  The first way is known as the customary way or the anticipating nature while the second one is the interpretative nature, which enables one to come up with reasonable judgments (Bacon 7). The anticipating nature forms the basis of consent among the members of the society and, hence, they cannot offer differing opinions even in cases whereby their welfare is threatened. On the other hand, the interpreting nature is anchored on the need of making sure that the societal members assent the proposed measures, and it includes the collection of views from every member (Bacon 7). However, he notes that no meaningful progress can be got through anticipation and, thus, everyone must embrace the interpretive means of growth. Baron is of the opinion that one should follow his/her conviction to achieve the desired goals. However, in doing so, he/she will have to counter any threats that might hinder the achievement of the aspirations.

The Theme of Individualism as Brought out by Adam Smith

In his text on The Wealth of Nations, Smith argues that a country’s prosperity is gauged by the worth of goods and services it produces. He notes that the best way to enhance the success of the state would be by increasing its production capacity to maximize the exports (Smith, 345). Nonetheless, the nation must also enact policies that regulate the importation of goods and services as they might adversely affect its economy. Smith is of the opinion that, for a nation to start developing, it must encourage division and specialization of labor, which would eventually lead to the advancement of better methods of production. With time, the improvements in the means of production would lead to an increase in capital accumulation, which implies that the investment levels of a country would increase (Smith 81). Also, Smith suggests that an economy would perform better if it operates under the laissez-faire mechanism and, hence, governments should avoid establishing monopolies and giving tax cuts to some companies. Therefore, Smith brings out some fundamental concepts of individualism by illustrating that an economy should put in place measures that would set it on the developmental path without relying on international trade. He also claims that nations should restrict importation of goods and services – while encouraging their exports – as a means of increasing their productivity levels, which would ultimately enhance them, achieve economic development.

The Most Compelling Approach

After carrying out the above analysis, I find Martin Luther’s approach to be the most compelling. Through the evaluation of the three walls built by the Romanists (that temporal power has no jurisdiction over the spiritual power, the interpretation of the scriptures can be made by the pope only, and that it is just the pope who can form a council), Luther awakens the Christians that they should stand up and speak against the vices that have been taking place in the church. He demonstrates that no every member of the congregation – irrespective of whether he/she is a spiritual leader – should be reproached whenever he/she does wrong. After baptism, all the Christians become equal and so no one should be hindered from making up favorable suggestions – such as instituting a disciplinary council – to ascertain transparency and the uphold of everyone’s rights in the church.

Rhetorical Critique of Public Communication Artifact

The essay examines the speech presented by the president-elect, Donald Trump one day after his election. It gives a rhetorical criticism of the artifact based on particular features that the viewer can identify after watching the video of the speech. The context of the paper will entail discussing the extent to which it is a narrative. It will use literature from past studies to expound on the argument and understanding of the features of a story as having rhetorical critique elements.

Outline Overview

Introduction: The paper begins with an introduction that explains the major terms applied in the essay including rhetoric and criticism. It defines rhetorical criticism as described by the various gurus in the field. The introduction expounds on the main subject of the assignment rhetorical criticism as applied to artifacts. It also gives a description of how information in the paper will flow.

The selected artifact: this part of the assignment describes the chosen item for rhetorical criticism. It provides a brief description of the item, the aim and its importance to

The Context: Here, the essay explains what the paper will entail, how information will be evaluated and the method of obtaining information about the artifact and explaining using the supporting material.

Research Question: This is the question that the essay answers.

Donald Trump’s Speech as a Narrative: This is the major part of the article and explains the speech based on the rhetorical critique of a narrative. The part is supported by research on the subject of narrative as a type of rhetoric analysis and explaining the artifact about the discussion of what entails a narrative.

Judgment and Conclusion: This section provides a final ruling as to why the paper confirms the artifact of Donald Trump’s speech is a narrative based on the analysis presented.



Rhetoric entails the strategic utilization of communication either oral or written for the purpose of achieving specified goals (Kuypers, 2010). It is the use of language as well as other symbols in realizing human goals in persuasion. Criticism entails the looking of rhetoric in a closer, critical as well as intentional manner so as to persuade as well as influence the audience. When people make a rhetorical criticism, they are evaluating, interpreting, exploring and making a judgment on the qualities of an artifact in a manner of self-expression. Foss (2004) describes rhetorical criticism as the process of engaging in qualitative research method designed for systematically investigating and explaining symbolic acts and artifacts to help in understanding rhetorical processes. In rhetorical criticism, symbols are essential for effective communication that can be examined using approaches such as themes, clusters and feminism criticism (Foss, 2008). Speech is an artifact that can be evaluated using rhetorical criticism. This essay aims at selecting and evaluating one artifact with a persuasive message in public communication.


The Selected Artifact

The chosen artifact is the speech made by Donald Trump, one day after he entered the office as the president of the United States of America. This item is presented a compelling message to the public by the president communicating essential information that will build America in the next coming years under his leadership. In his speech, Trump was briefing the public of his plan in moving the country forward.

The Context

In explaining rhetorical criticism in the speech presented by Donald Trump in the state house, a day after his election as the president of the United States of America, this paper will evaluate the president’s use of language and symbols in his message. The context will be examining whether the artifact is a narrative. The method used in evaluating the related time to the speech and how the president presented it and the impact or effect of the message passed to the wider audience or the entire nation of America.

This paper reviews and examines Donald Trump rhetorical presentation in his speech Transition 2017 “A Message from President-Elect Donald J. Trump.” It critically analyzes what the president said to relay to the public about transitioning to 2017. The paper explains the content of the speech and the events described by the president as forming the next government goals in the coming years. The major question here is what Donald Trump said in his speech one day after the election as the president of the United States of America. The general flow of the rhetorical criticism will be first to look at the artifact as a narrative. A narrative is one form of expression that uses language and symbols that characterize a rhetorical criticism. The next step will be interpreting the main idea depending on the understanding and evaluation of the message presented by the president. It will be a judgment of why it is convincing that the speech was a narrative based on the president’s message.

Research Question: To what extent is President’s Donald Trump a narrative.

Donald Trump’s Speech as a Narrative

In understanding the president’s speech as a story, it is important for a person to learn what a narrative entails, its characteristics and how the speech is a narrative. It is defined as a spoken or written description of events that are connected. Usually, a narrative is presented commonly as a story.  Fisher (1984) describes a story as a paradigm that entails human communication within which people are the storytellers. He introduced four characteristics of a narrative including conflict, plot, and characters. The plot describes the beginning, middle, and end of the story. A story must offer a real reason for why the narrator is telling or writing it to the audience (Fisher, 1984). Fisher described a narrative as a dialectical synthesis of different traditional strands within the rhetoric history including the argument and a theme that is persuasive, literary and aesthetic. Warnick (1987) adds that a narrative must have rationality as the concept that makes it unique. It must provide logic behind the telling of the story. It should give good reasons for holding the story together and having values such as relevance and consistency.  Foss (2008) describes that a narrative must have a causal relationship.

The speech presented by the president one day after the election “A Message from President-Elect Donald J. Trump,” is a narrative because it entailed describing events that the president intends to do during his term as the leader of the U.S. government. The speech by Donald Trump is a story because of the events that he wanted to address to the public that will take place and how they will be executed by his government. The events are connected and create the causal relationship of the speech. In his speech, Donald was sharing an update on the transition to the presidency (Transition, 2017). He gave an outline of the policy plans that his government would execute within the first one hundred days while in office. The president of the United States of America was giving a brief of what he is and will do from the first day of his service as the leader of America.

Foss (2008) describes four criteria that one should use in evaluating a narrative from other kinds of rhetoric including a minimum of two activities, the events must be organized by time and involve a causal relationship. The events must have a unified subject. Donald Trump’s speech “A Message from President-Elect Donald J. Trump,” is a narrative because it provides fictional information of the activities that the president and his team will perform to achieve the set goals his government. Tales are considered as fictions in the sense that, the stories presented are usually of activities that have not taken place or already took place in the imaginary world. The events in a narrative are imaginative and do not need to have happened in reality.

Narratives usually have characters and a plot or activities that are occurring (Fisher, 1984). The characters form the subject of the story as either protagonist or antagonist.  A protagonist is the main character/person/item in the narrative and with which the main idea is formed. The antagonist is the character opposing the protagonist. This characteristic of a narrative relates to Trump’s speech whereby, the president is the character addressing the audience. He forms the primary idea with which the speech is presented. The speech is a narrative because it needed the character, Trump so as to push forward or reacts to the activities or events within the plot. The plot is said to have five elements including the exposition, increasing activity, climax, the falling event as well as the resolution. After viewing the speech made by Donald Trump, there a clear plot of how the speaker described events. The president began with a little tone to introduce the subject of the speech. He said, “today I would like to provide the American people with an update on the White House transition and our policy plans for the first 100 days.”  was the exposition; the other events proceed as the president gave his speech until the end. As he speaks, one can realize the transition from one event to the other.

A narrative usually has a conflict in one way or the other (Fisher, 1984). The conflict may exist among the characters or between the characters, acts of nature, the society or the struggle living in the world. In the speech by Donald Trump, there is a conflict that he describes as existing between the American people and the nation because of decreased trade opportunities, jobs for the citizens and affected economy. In his speech, the president addressed how he will end this conflict during his term by putting measures that are strategic in giving America back its beautiful nation. A conflict in a story is said to create the interesting aspect of what the narrator is portraying to the audience.

A narrative always has a setting which entails the time as well as location with which the story takes or took place. Since human communication is seen as historical and situational, this explains why a narrative has a setting that defines the time and location of its development and the reason for its constitution. This is the rationality of a narrative of what demands it intended to meet the audience (Fisher, 1984). The setting sets the scene of the story as well as determining the type of conflict that is occurring. The speech presented by the president-elect, Donald Trump is a narrative since it has a setting that is current and presented at the Whitehouse in Washington D.C. The setting of the speech shows that the president wanted to address critical issues that are facing the nation.

A narrative also has a point of view which is the perspective with which the story is being told. There are two main points of view that a speaker or narrator can have including the first and third person. The first person is when the narrator is telling the story, and the third person is when the story is being told by another person. The speech “A Message from President-Elect Donald J. Trump,” by Donald Trump is presented in the first person point of view. The president used personal pronouns such as I and My to address the audience of what he and his government will do to build America from its current position to a better one. The first person point of view in the speech creates the personal involvement of the speaker to the audience. According to Foss (2008), narratives also create a personal commitment to presenting the world in a particular manner. For example, narratives are detailed and accurate in their information. They can also be shared.


Judgment and Conclusion

To tie the evaluation together, the method of rhetorical criticism used in evaluating the selected artifact is a narrative. A narrative criticism entails analyzing how narratives are used in persuading audiences (Foss, 2008). In this technique of rhetorical criticism, the speaker uses various components of a narrative to connect with the people so as to persuade them including plot, characters as well as the setting.  Judging from the analysis Trump’s speech, it is a narrative based on the above discussion and evidence from the artifact and research. To tie the evaluation together, one can see that Donald Trump in his speech was telling a story that entailed connected events. He had a clear opening of the speech, middle and an ending. The language used was fluent and eloquent to ensure the audience understood his message. The subject of the speech was clear and the president gave reasons for supporting the subject. The “A Message from President-Elect Donald J. Trump,” speech is an artifact that supports its rationality and intention to helping the American nation understand the need for anticipating a more promising future. Since a narrative aims at presenting values and truth, the speech by Donald Trump fell within these criteria and confirmed as a narrative with an objective, a theme, an idea that the speaker is giving the audience. The president was objective to take a particular opinion of setting the pace for America by providing his message point by point, in a short message that made an impact to every listener. In his concluding remarks, the president justified the action as necessary for the American nation. Defending the objective of the narrative is one of the standards for its evaluation and judging to suit the criteria of this rhetorical criticism.