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The Morality Of Lies And Deception

1057 words - 4 pages

The Morality of Lies and Deception
We lie all the time, lying is not something new to our culture. We lie to our parents, we lie to our friends, we even lie to our significant other, but why do we do it? There is not one set reason on why we lie but they can vary from an insignificant reason to something more nefarious. A good operational definition of a lie is “A lie is a false statement to a person or group made by another person or group who knows it is not the whole truth, intentionally.” (Freitas-Magalhães) We have been raised to know that lying is usually a bad thing, and it’s better to tell the truth, not to mention the circumstances get exponentially worse if you are caught lying. No one wants to be labeled as a liar, or untrustworthy. This may sound unorthodox but I personally think lying is perfectly fine; depending on the situation. If you have a prima-facie duty to be dishonest it’s perfectly acceptable. Ross says a prima facie duty or obligation is an actual duty. “One’s actual duty is what one ought to do all things considered.” (Carson) I’m not the only one who finds this too be true. Ross would also agree with me, He says “Lying is permissible or obligatory when the duty not to lie conflicts with a more important or equal important prima facie duty.” (Carson) As I was doing research on this topic I did read one extremely compelling argument on why we ought not to lie. Aristotle basically said a person who makes a defense for lying could never be trusted. (King.) In the case where the customer a wants to purchase a certain shoe but the shoe store does not have her/her size, and the salesperson tries to trick the customer into purchasing a larger shoe, the sales associate lying and deception is morally unjustified in my personal option. I try to follow the golden rule as best as I can. The golden rule is “The golden rule says that we must treat others as we would be willing to have them treat us or, alternatively, that we must not treat others in ways in which we are unwilling to be treated ourselves.” (Carson) Seeing how I would extremely upset if I got duped into getting a bigger sized shoes and got blisters I wouldn't do that anyone. There is also a question of personal morality. Our salesman could be a relativist. The theory of relativism is ”The prescriptive view that different groups of people ought to have different ethical standards for evaluating acts as right or wrong, these different beliefs are true in their respective societies, and these different beliefs are not instances of a basic moral principle.” (Lander) If our salesman was a relativist he could claim that he has a different standard of ethics and in his mind tricking a customer is completely acceptable in order to make a sale. I don’t think that the theory of relativism is a valid reason to commit certain actions. Relativism cannot be valid because it only works by applying the theory to yourself. A relativist agrees that it would be okay to steal...

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