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Is it ever okay to lie?
#1
We're often told that "honesty is the best policy", i.e. we should always tell the truth. It certainly works as a heuristic; however, in reality, there are situations where the best course of action isn't so clear. All of us encounter scenarios where lying is, at the very least, the easy way out; for example, when we're caught in a conversation, we might get out of it by lying about needing to go somewhere. Most of us have no problem with this: it might not be truly 'morally right', but even if it is wrong, perhaps it's only wrong in a trivial, technical sense which nobody really cares about. Alternatively, we can concoct imaginary scenarios where lying is clearly the lesser of two evils - but, even then, does that make lying 'morally right', or merely 'less wrong' than any available alternative?

The following video, by Philosophy Tube, investigates this possibility:



The video focuses mainly on the philosophy of Immanuel Kant. According to him, it's never morally acceptable to lie, no matter what the consequences are. His reasoning for this is that people are to be treated as ends in and of themselves (and not merely means for our own ends) - and lying to others violates this by exploiting them for our own ends (thus, in effect, placing ourselves above them). Furthermore, he argued that anyone who tells a lie is responsible for anything that happens afterwards as a consequence: after all, people have the ability to control their own destiny, and lying to them compromises this control. He even extended this beyond telling explicit falsehoods - and argued that it wasn't acceptable to tell selective truths or remain silent when asked to speak.

Of course, Kant wasn't the only philosopher to have lived - and he was one of the most idealistic ones on this matter. Most of us (philosophers or not) don't hold such an absolutist view on "lying is wrong". So, if there are any exceptions, then what exactly are they?
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#2
"if there are any exceptions, then what exactly are they? "

Versteckst du irgendwelche Juden?

I am sure is a great reason to lie :whistle:

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#3
Right, I think there's definitely good reasons to lie, but I'd say it's always a bad thing to do - it's just that in some cases the alternative thing is even worse.

If we delve into the Bible on this, there's the obvious quotation of Leviticus 19:11 which says "Do not lie. Do not deceive each other." However, there's also the example of Rahab lying about the whereabouts of the Israelite spies to protect them, and being rewarded for her actions (recorded in Joshua 2). The New Testament recalls this, saying "By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient." (Hebrews 11:31).

However, it's never explicitly stated that her lying was condoned by God. So it would seem that, whilst lying is a sinful thing to do, perhaps it is the lesser of two evils to do so?

I guess another instance of this would be lying about hiding away Jews during WW2. The lying wasn't a good thing to do, but it was better than handing them over to the Nazi regime.
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#4
I'm an excellent liar, but only when necessary. :P
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#5
Sometimes the truth hurts people... why the hell would you risk doing that? I would definitely lie then.

At one point my dad was crying in bed, scared to death of chemo, and he asked me for my thoughts on it... I knew exactly what he was in for, but lied and said it was gonna be quick and easy. He calmed down and took it like a champ.

I couldn't afford being honest there, and I don't regret it.
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#6
Sometimes I can come up with and tell blatant lies, and get away with it half the time. But I know that not everyone can keep up with every lie the speak of, let alone live the lie.
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#7
What I usually do, because I do not want to lie to the person, I say I prefer not to say and change the subject. It usually works for me. I don't feel I should be forced to answer, if I don't want to. If I was in court, I would tell the truth. Or, I may take the 5th.
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#8
Honestly I think lies are only appropriate in certain situations. If you need to tell a lie to save someone's life or if the truth was to hurt then I think it's fine. If you're lying to make yourself look better or to hide something unfaithful, then I don't think it's okay.
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#9
(05-31-2019, 12:08 AM)Ravenfreak Wrote: Honestly I think lies are only appropriate in certain situations. If you need to tell a lie to save someone's life or if the truth was to hurt then I think it's fine. If you're lying to make yourself look better or to hide something unfaithful, then I don't think it's okay.

Agreed I think lying is okay in certain situations, like you just stated. Saving someone's life or not trying to hurt their feelings. It is sometimes okay to be honest to someone but if it's really harsh then it should be kept a secret.
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#10
I saw this thread ages ago but never actually got around to replying to it. 

When it comes to lying, I think that it should be avoided but it is important to sometimes. Honesty is the most straightforward thing because you won’t lead to a spiral of cover ups and the truth is always valued. However, I do think that like mentioned in the thread, lying has to happen. Lying should happen often to protect someone’s feelings in a sensitive situation. The truth is necessary at times though. It’s tricky because there’s a fine line sometimes whether it’s moral or not. The easiest is to avoid the topic altogether so you don’t have to come clean with the truth or lie.
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