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Plagiarism is referred to as the offense of copying others work without giving credit to the author. It is only morally right that writers or scholars should reference the work of others after using another’s author work. Academic honesty should be maintained at all cost by upholding integrity of the education process. It is only fair that that a person’s labor should not be subjected to reviews which leads to the work being plagiarized. Individuals found with this offense should not be allowed to dismiss it as a mistake or an accident Stanley found his work plagiarized by a co-author who shifted the blame to an undergraduate researcher who had helped him write his book. It’s after this encounter that he argued about plagiarism. The shift of blame only indicates that the victim was guilty thereby proofing that he had plagiarized. Plagiarism is a crime against the original writer although it is hard to evade the crime. Thus writers who include students should shun this behavior and try to be more original in their work. Stanley refers plagiarism as a sin that is learned rather than a philosophical issue.

Problem Statement

The argument that plagiarism is not a moral deal has not been clearly established as many authors and writers have continued to discuss the issue both philosophically and morally.


This study seeks to establish the flaws in the argument that plagiarism is not a moral deal.

Relevance of the Study

The study of these flaws in Stanley’s argument is crucial because it will help sensitize the public especially those involved in writing about the importance of being original in their work. In addition credit should be accorded to authors whose work has been used to conduct academic or personal research. The current generation is being warned against the evils of copying others work since it could lead them to failing in exams and even being expelled from school whereas authors practicing this could lose their market.

Discussion of the Flaws

Stanley views plagiarism as theft which is true to some extent but it can also be untrue considering the fact that some academia cite the author whose work they have used thereby displaying mere honesty in their work. Knowledge has been perceived as something that one can owe and thus can be stolen; however this is a perverse view. Stanley has criticized a straw man thereby making people penitent about the entire issue. Plagiarism is not thought by some people as stealing rather they see it as intellectual honesty instead of intellectual theft. Others feel it is similar to bank robbery or embezzlement of funds. The latter cannot be right since majority believe it is hard to survive without stealing. This is quite true because writing in many classes particularly humanities requires reacting to and pondering about what ahs been said by others. Asian students as it has been pointed out by certain parties have been trained to do their papers by gathering together paraphrases or other material that they have been assigned. By doing this students demonstrate their command of the assigned material. The command referred in this case is his but not somebody else’s since this could result in falsehood.

When a student constructs a paper by copying and pasting from the internet, it cannot be referred to as theft. Rather it is a lie but trying to portly some competence or personal effort which isn’t in the real sense. If plagiarism is found a matter of dishonesty, individuals can then free themselves from the legalistic mentality that seems to hold, propelled by the wish to possess standards that are “objective”. By thus doing, academic administrators would evade the call for professional judgment. Both intent and falsehood are needed in order to deceive. This is the same for plagiarism which is the reason why freshmen do not plagiarize. Fish looks at plagiarism as violation of the golf rules. This is a problem that is very serious since it is associated with communication integrity in addition to trustworthiness of an individual. A large part of moral dimension is found in education since intellectual work profound moral dimensions. The academic community is corrupted at a basic level by lying about what one writes concerning either data or credentials.

Referring plagiarism as “unattributed borrowing” does not reduce it to anything else other than theft. This is because it is hard to determine how to return the borrowed information. Stanley refers to plagiarism as a learned sin. This statement would contribute to disagreements since freshmen and others who know nothing about theft could copy and paste others work unknowingly. He further says that it isn’t a philosophical issue but this has no vivid basis until otherwise proven by researchers. Every sin is not learned, plagiarism cannot be likened to developing children since very few of them become thieves once they grow up hence the relationship is slim. Repeating what others say without citation of the original bearer is not plagiarism. Stanley fish has generalized the concept of plagiarism and likened it to unrelated circumstances for instance the notion of ones’ neighbor’s words. The strictness and rules of the golf ball unlike the other balls does not in any way compare to plagiarism. Plagiarism is not as pronounced as a ball game would be and not so many individuals would be involved in watching it happen.

The actual meaning of stealing is taking something from the owner without his or her knowledge. The thief in this case does not return what he steals unless he is caught in the act or rather found holding the object. Stanly calls plagiarism a euphemism, "unattributed borrowing", which doesn’t make it anything other than theft. It is surprising that Dr. Stanley takes the position of plagiarism as a mere “professional” concern. The argument that plagiarism is culturally malleable leaves the open the proposition that it would be fine in somewhere else in the world. Plagiarism is not only a matter of professional concern particularly in the academic sector although its importance cannot be ignored. Our moral understanding is preserved when we cite and reference the ideas that originated elsewhere. When mistakes arise during citation or referencing this should not be referred to as a moral failing since man is to error. The argument that plagiarism is “no big deal” is tired since everyone works on ideas together. A Nobel Prize cannot be announced undeserved when no idea is found new. This raises the issue of originality and how important it is. When someone steal others work, it isn’t fair to tell the owner that it is just a “technical” problem rather than a moral one.

In the case of plagiarism, the student copies and paste the work but does not reduce it or hide it from the owner especially when he/she gives credit to the source. Lack of discipline makes students plagiarize thereby breaching the decorum of discipline. The moral universe is not affected according to Stanley; however this may be untrue to some extent. Plagiarism has no boundaries; if an individual fails to give credit to the source, he/she has plagiarized. The context in which the scholar has done it does not really matter. It is unfortunate that Stanley refers to student who do not get concept right as failures of insular world. He further suggests that plagiarism should not be punished as it is only “a breach of disciplinary decorum” rather than that of moral universe. It is wrong to plagiarize as it is deception and not ones ideas. One does not learn by committing this crime and the character exposed is flawed.

Everything does not belong to everybody as he suggests by referring to the times of individuals like Aristotle. The reason being that new individuals are being born with new ideas and it is not everybody who is a copy cat Stanley does not clearly point out if plagiarism is normative philosophical notion. The writers who make president’s speech are paid for their work that isn’t plagiarized. They write in their own understanding and the nature in which they consent to.

Plagiarism is no way an obsession and one can avoid by mere giving credit where it deserves. Plagiarism in writing is only difficult to be avoided because since the emergence of languages especially English, no new words have been invented. However, this does not mean that plagiarism is a must for all writers. Some originality still remains. The fact that his work was copied without his authorization and without being referenced does not mean that all writers are thieves through plagiarism.


Plagiarism is an issue that requires to be addressed properly since the argument that it is no big deal as brought out by Dr. Fish raises a mixed reaction. This is because plagiarism has been likened to moral failing and also as theft. These have no solid ground as plagiarism is viewed different by different writers. Plagiarism is therefore not a philosophical or moral offense rather than a professional one and the argument may be valid despite the fact that its morality against cheating does not function.

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