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There is not a long history of censorship in philosophy, but where it does occur it receives memorable note, as in the case of Plato‟s Republic. And there, as elsewhere, I often find I am in sympathy, if not agreement, concerning the problem, but utterly opposed to the offered solution.

In the paper I wish to review, Paine takes the very strong position that “child advertising” is in its very conception an offense—and that its continuance is both economically exploitative and morally corruptive of children. Although she is careful to separate her concerns as moral rather than legal or political, she issues the imperative: we must cease and desist directing advertising to children. There is much worth considering in her paper, however I will limit my response to the logic of the two cases she presents against the morality of children‟s advertising. She regards these as two different kinds and venues of criticism and more or less divides the paper along two lines, giving less attention to the second part—“basic ethical principles”—than to the first part—a “specialized principle of business.”

I will argue that although her concerns have merit, Paine‟s arguments against children‟s advertising do not hold; moreover, that they give way at their very center. That being so, her recommendations to abandon children‟s advertising does not hold, and some other solution (or terms of argument) must be found. I will review one option.

Finally, I argue for a different understanding of morality—of its point and profit—which I hope will show that, as is often the case, things are not all as bad for children as would first appear when adults try to see through children‟s eyes.

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Business and Professional Ethics Journal

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Philosophy Commons