Henning’s argues that ethical inquiry is necessary for critical thinking, therefore it is very important for all to learn when studying writing. In order to analyze a rhetorical situation, it is necessary to analyze the relationships amongst the composer, the subject and its audience. Analyzing a “situation” allows us to understand the “why” and “how” of the text which leads to the ethics behind the text. Knowing the relationships in the situation tells us what responsibility each factor (composer, subject and audience) holds to the other factors. It is crucial to know this when determining the ethics of a situation to understand the responsibility of a communication. Even the medium and genre can have a large impact on the ethics practiced by the composer.
I agree with Henning’s argument on the importance of ethical inquiry when using critical thinking. In order to analyze a rhetorical situation you must step back and look into the factors affecting the situation. Teaching ethics in the classroom must be required when teaching writing and reading – this helps to create a more responsible writer and analytical reader. When taught ethics, students take their writing more seriously from its tone to its language. Nowadays, everyone is a composer for a very public audience due to the easy access to digital social platforms. As a result, everyone’s work is open to ethical inquiry, regardless of the status of the composer. For example, James Charles, a CoverGirl representative, made inappropriate tweets about Africa on Twitter last week.
Although he apologized later, if Charles had a deeper education in ethics in writing, he would not have considered such a post on such a large platform as a simple “joke” in the first place. In this case, the composer should have thought more critically about the subject and it’s context. It is important to teaching ethics in writing to create a more thoughtful society.