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what justifies a lie?

 
 
Reply Fri 17 Jun, 2011 12:38 pm
what makes it the right thing to do when you lie?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 2 • Views: 2,596 • Replies: 35

 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Jun, 2011 01:57 am
@hamilton,
If anyone other than me responds you are likely to be confronted with two basic schools of thought:

1) A lie is never justified. Truth is an absolute to which adherence is not optional

2) If a lie spares someone pain then it is justified.

Since I have a hard time accepting that #2 is realistic, I tend to favor #1.
Ding an Sich
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Jun, 2011 05:36 am
@hamilton,
hamilton wrote:

what makes it the right thing to do when you lie?


You need to take a step back and ask, "Is lying right at all?". I think you are asuming that there are indeed instances where lying is right, but then again I could be wrong.
0 Replies
 
djjd62
 
  3  
Reply Sat 18 Jun, 2011 05:45 am
what justifies a lie?

getting away with it
0 Replies
 
hamilton
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Jun, 2011 10:59 am
@Finn dAbuzz,
Finn dAbuzz wrote:

If anyone other than me responds you are likely to be confronted with two basic schools of thought:

1) A lie is never justified. Truth is an absolute to which adherence is not optional

2) If a lie spares someone pain then it is justified.

Since I have a hard time accepting that #2 is realistic, I tend to favor #1.
ever hear the saying "the easy way is not always the right way?
vikorr
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Jun, 2011 04:34 pm
@hamilton,
Every person on this earth lies - most lie to other people multiple times daily (studies have been done on this).

The most common lies are told to yourself. Lies to other people are less frequent.

Why are people interested in the justification, rather than the consequence?
wayne
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Jun, 2011 04:45 pm
When a bird pretends to be injured, in order to lead a predator away from it's nest, is it lying?
If so, does this make lying a survival tool ?
hamilton
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Jun, 2011 05:25 pm
@vikorr,
vikorr wrote:

Every person on this earth lies - most lie to other people multiple times daily (studies have been done on this).

The most common lies are told to yourself. Lies to other people are less frequent.

Why are people interested in the justification, rather than the consequence?
because they have conscience. we have an idea of what is good, and what is not good. or at least, i hope we do.
hamilton
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Jun, 2011 05:27 pm
@wayne,
all actions are survival tools, in one way or another, for one thing or another.
yes. suicide is a survival tool, in some weird way that i dont know.
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Jun, 2011 05:55 pm
@hamilton,
A few thoughts: One may commit suicide in order to preserve his honor or that of people who are identified with him, i.e. family.. A soldier may sacrifice himself for the survival of his comrades.
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Jun, 2011 05:59 pm
@hamilton,
We tend to think that being truthful is as important as possessing the truth. I think that sometimes deception is beneficial. Would you tell a nazi storm trooper which way a Jewish escapee ran? And a major method of survival in in the animal world is deception-by-camoflauge.
Ding an Sich
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Jun, 2011 07:41 pm
@JLNobody,
JLNobody wrote:

We tend to think that being truthful is as important as possessing the truth. I think that sometimes deception is beneficial. Would you tell a nazi storm trooper which way a Jewish escapee ran? And a major method of survival in in the animal world is deception-by-camoflauge.


You could say nothing at all.

And does this deception in the animal world make a smooth transition into society? Is it really ever necessary to lie, especially since we do not have to struggle, per se, for survival (using pure physical strength), except in desperate situations such as war? Perhaps sufficient, but not necessary, and even that seems dubious.

Also in the instance of the Nazi and excapee, perhaps it is indeed moral to tell the truth or say nothing at all; what would need to be examined first is whether or not lying is moral or immoral, and, if so, when and where?
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Sun 19 Jun, 2011 09:37 pm
@Ding an Sich,
The instance of the Nazi and the Jew illustrates that there is no absolute morality. There's always room for situational ethics. One of the Commandments enjoins us not to bear false witness, but we all (perhaps that's why it was left unsaid) know that the general rule requires interpretation in terms of the particular situation. Sometimes it's ethical to lie.
Ding an Sich
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Jun, 2011 07:08 am
@JLNobody,
JLNobody wrote:

The instance of the Nazi and the Jew illustrates that there is no absolute morality. There's always room for situational ethics. One of the Commandments enjoins us not to bear false witness, but we all (perhaps that's why it was left unsaid) know that the general rule requires interpretation in terms of the particular situation. Sometimes it's ethical to lie.


But why is it the case that there is room for situational ethics? What are your premises?

And the commandment "Neither shall you bear false witness against your neighbor." means exactly what it says; otherwise, if it were to allow for situational or consequentialist ethics, it might say "Neither shall you bear false witness against your neighbor unless P or Q or R,etc."
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Jun, 2011 05:45 pm
@Ding an Sich,
Again what truly defines the nature of "things" in the action is the function being served towards any given end...if the terms in the operational relation are inverse you may well have to inverse the rule/principle to achieve the same goal/effect (or shall I say the the very same rule)(form is relation not "thing in itself")...things are what they operate thus depending on context, and that of course, also includes moral and ethics...

...naturally there is no whatsoever any shadow of relativism in this assertion since in the same conditions you always achieve the same result...concerning Nature, Ontology and Metaphysics stands intact...
0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Tue 21 Jun, 2011 04:45 pm
@hamilton,
I've heard the saying but how it applies to what I wrote is beyond me.
0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Tue 21 Jun, 2011 04:54 pm
@JLNobody,
As Ding suggested, one need not lie to the Nazi asking about the Jew to meet an absolute moral standard about lying. One need only remain silent.

Such a lack of response would probably carry with it danger, but so would lying,
0 Replies
 
BDV
 
  1  
Reply Tue 21 Jun, 2011 06:22 pm
@hamilton,
a lie is never justified
0 Replies
 
vikorr
 
  1  
Reply Thu 23 Jun, 2011 05:32 am
@hamilton,
vikorr wrote:
Every person on this earth lies - most lie to other people multiple times daily (studies have been done on this).

The most common lies are told to yourself. Lies to other people are less frequent.

Why are people interested in the justification, rather than the consequence?

hamilton wrote:
because they have conscience. we have an idea of what is good, and what is not good. or at least, i hope we do.

This is what I meant. Many people think 'it is flat out wrong to lie'. These same people lie to themselves frequently, and to others most likely daily -never looking at either the hypocrisy, or the why.

People ask about the justification, and conscience, but I would say that consequence is much more relevant to ones conscience than justification is to an ideal.
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Thu 23 Jun, 2011 12:38 pm
@vikorr,
Wouldn't you say that a major difference is that people know when they are lying to others but not when they are lying to themselves?
 

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