Lying: A Brief Introduction to Ethical Considerations
Chris MacDonald, Ph.D. (email@example.com) This presentation was found at: www.businessethics.ca
Feel free to use this presentation. I maintain no copyright. Credit, however, would be appreciated.
What is a lie?
± a statement ± speaker knows it¶s false ± speaker intends audience to believe
What¶s wrong with lying?
± violates autonomy, right to self-direction (deception gives power to the deceiver) ± generates mistrust, so reduces usefulness of communication ± a lie can also be a way to do something else unethical ± Further harm: to the liar (loss of reputation, loss of self-respect, more lies likely ± they begin to seem necessary & easy)
Lying is generally considered wrong, until shown to be justified.
± The burden of proof is on the person doing the lying. ± ³Other things being equal,´ it¶s wrong/unethical to lie.
Justifying Lies / Giving Excuses
± ³It¶s not really lying.´ ± ³It¶s for the greater good.´ (individual or group) ± ³Everyone does it. It¶s part of the game.´ (business, taxes) ± ³It was just something convenient to say.´ ± ³I have to in order to get what I¶m owed.´
Acceptable(?) Deception Deception:
± bluffing in poker? ± bargaining/haggling over prices? ± What a lovely gift! Nice sweater! I love your new haircut! ± Santa Claus? ± advertising? ± job applications? ± taxes?
What if the claim is vague? What if the speaker only sort of intends to deceive? Is that really ³a lie´?
± We can evaluate the action without deciding if it¶s ³a lie.´
Questions to Consider:
± Does telling a lie automatically make someome a liar? Or does that require a pattern? ± Does telling a lie remove all credibility?