Journal of Sustainable Social Change


Plagiarism is the theft of intellectual property. Plagiarism has been a problem in academic settings and appears to be on the increase, now moving into areas including the medical and scientific fields as well as industry, manufacturing, military, and legal briefs. The ethical implications can have serious consequences for organizations, individuals, and society, resulting in harm being done to others in favor of expediency. In this scholarly essay, the authors explore and discuss the ethical implications of plagiarism and the increase of ghostwriting in a free society through the writings of Kant, Popper, Kostenbaum, Plato, Whedbee, and others. The conclusion is that the act of stealing is not the true crime; rather, it is the act of deception that inflicts moral harm on all parties by damaging the reputation of self and others, insulting others’ intelligence, and harming the integrity of all. The intended audience is students in their first year of a doctoral program.