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Walter Lippmann's ethical challenge to the individual
Unformatted Document Text:  Walter Lippmann’s ethical challenge to the individual 4 This paper analyzes in hermeneutic fashion random concepts of the individual from three of Lippmann’s major works, Liberty and The News (1995/1919), Public Opinion (1997/1922) and The Phantom Public (2011/1927). Lippmann’s view of liberty and democracy – and the corresponding role of the press – changed throughout his life. He was incredibly idealistic early in his life but soon concluded that public opinion was a response not to truths per se but largely a response “… to a ‘pseudo-environment’ that exists between us and the outside world” (1995, p. 4). The manner in which Lippmann frames the individual is significant to contemporary ethics because it challenges us to use critical thinking to analyze how the numerous unseen forces around us – such as power, economics, culture and politics – affect the ethical dilemmas we encounter on a daily basis. All of these forces greatly influenced Lippmann and not always in a positive fashion, but his oft-negative conclusions of the press can empower us in a positive manner to strive toward Fisher’s narrative-based form of ethics. Since Liberty and the News is very short at 92 pages, the individual is clearly represented in each of its three chapters. Public Opinion, at 28 chapters, and The Phantom Public, at 16 chapters, are much longer, so for the purposes of keeping this paper at a reasonable length, representations of the individual in Public Opinion are framed chiefly from Chapter 1 since “The World Outside and the Pictures in Our Heads” is one of Lippmann’s signature concepts. Other representations of the individual are from Part 3 on “Stereotypes,” Part 5 on “The Making of a Common Will,” and Part 7 on “Newspapers.” From The Phantom Public, the following chapters – 1, 3, 4, 8, 13 and 14 – are surveyed since they best capture Lippmann’s representation of the individual. Dying for a Country but Not Thinking for It In Liberty and The News, Lippmann goes to great length to build up the press by challenging its delusive, self-consumed nature. By doing this, he turns each individual’s attention (whether a citizen or a journalist) to this taken-for-granted realization: liberty

Authors: Urbanski, Steve.
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Walter Lippmann’s ethical challenge to the individual 
This paper analyzes in hermeneutic fashion random concepts of the individual 
from three of Lippmann’s major works, Liberty and The News (1995/1919), Public 
Opinion (1997/1922) and The Phantom Public (2011/1927). Lippmann’s view of liberty 
and democracy – and the corresponding role of the press – changed throughout his life. 
He was incredibly idealistic early in his life but soon concluded that public opinion was a 
response not to truths per se but largely a response “… to a ‘pseudo-environment’ that 
exists between us and the outside world” (1995, p. 4). The manner in which Lippmann 
frames the individual is significant to contemporary ethics because it challenges us to use 
critical thinking to analyze how the numerous unseen forces around us – such as power, 
economics, culture and politics – affect the ethical dilemmas we encounter on a daily 
basis. All of these forces greatly influenced Lippmann and not always in a positive 
fashion, but his oft-negative conclusions of the press can empower us in a positive 
manner to strive toward Fisher’s narrative-based form of ethics. Since Liberty and the 
News is very short at 92 pages, the individual is clearly represented in each of its three 
chapters. Public Opinion, at 28 chapters, and The Phantom Public, at 16 chapters, are 
much longer, so for the purposes of keeping this paper at a reasonable length, 
representations of the individual in Public Opinion are framed chiefly from Chapter 1 
since “The World Outside and the Pictures in Our Heads” is one of Lippmann’s signature 
concepts. Other representations of the individual are from Part 3 on “Stereotypes,” Part 5 
on “The Making of a Common Will,” and Part 7 on “Newspapers.” From The Phantom 
Public, the following chapters – 1, 3, 4, 8, 13 and 14 – are surveyed since they best 
capture Lippmann’s representation of the individual. 
 
Dying for a Country but Not Thinking for It 
In Liberty and The News, Lippmann goes to great length to build up the press by 
challenging its delusive, self-consumed nature. By doing this, he turns each individual’s 
attention (whether a citizen or a journalist) to this taken-for-granted realization: liberty 


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