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Lying and Deception. Write down (to turn in, no names, necessarily): . 1) Define lying 2) An example of a morally justified lie. 3) An example of a morally justified lie intended to benefit the liar financially. Df ., lying.

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Write down to turn in no names necessarily
Write down (to turn in, no names, necessarily):

1) Define lying

2) An example of a morally justified lie.

3) An example of a morally justified lie intended to benefit the liar financially.

Df lying
Df., lying

A lie: a statement made deliberately to mislead others which is believed to be false by the person who makes it.

Df deception
Df. Deception

A deception: An action or omission that is intentionally misleading to others.

An example deception
An example deception:

  • “In a court case a witness was asked whether he had ever maintained a Swiss bank account. The man answered that his company had had a Swiss bank account for six months. If, as was apparently the man’s intention, the jurors took his answer to mean that he had never had such an account, they would have been deceived, for he had in fact maintained Swiss accounts. He did not, however, lie.”

  • This example, from Bronston v. United States, 409 U.S. 352 (1973), is described by Alexander and Sherwin, p. 407. The Court held that the witness had not committed perjury.

Lying and deception

Two differences:

1) lies require statements (verbal or written); deception doesn’t.

2) deception is a “success” term in a way lying isn’t.


5 days after being hired to be the head football coach at Notre Dame, George O’Leary was forced to resign. On his résumé, he stated that he 1) had a Master’s degree from a non-existent school, 2) was a three-year letterman at UNH, where he never played in a game.

Lying and deception

Your boss calls Saturday morning. You are supposed to have the day off, but don’t have any firm plans. The boss, though, explains that there’s a crisis at the office and she badly needs you to come in to work. You don’t want to go in, but don’t have a good excuse so you make one up. Is it a lie? Is it wrong?

Lying and deception

I am about to seal the deal to sell you several computers for your small business. You ask me to verify that the computers will be delivered within two weeks, as I’d originally said. I know that that’s unlikely, but the truth will probably cost me the sale, so I say they’ll be verified in two weeks. Is it a lie? Is it okay?

Lying and deception

  • Your co-worker misses work because she has to appear in court for reasons that she would prefer that her boss did not know about. She phones in sick, but the boss suspects a ruse and asks you why Jeannette is gone. Though the boss is usually understanding and forgiving, you know that Jeanette would prefer that the boss not know that she's in court or for what reason. If you say that she’s sick or that you do not know, you will be lying. What do you tell the boss?

Lying and deception

You’re working in a restaurant as a waiter and you forget to turn in one table’s order to the kitchen promptly. 10 minutes later you remember and turn it in, and explain to your table that there has been an unexpected delay in the kitchen. You figure there’s no reason for your tip to suffer – it won’t hurt the cooks any. Is it a lie? Is it okay?

Lying and deception

  • Suppose that Hudson’s, a discount store that specializes in selling merchandise liquidated by failed retailers, receives a shipment of merchandise from a music store. George, a drummer who is in the market for a new crash cymbal, hears about Hudson’s new stock and finds just what he has been looking for. The sign on display promises 40% off the lowest marked price; the tag on the cymbal reads $229.00. When the cashier rings up his sale, however, she apparently misreads the tag and rings up 40% off of $22.90. George notices the error but says nothing and ends up with a great new cymbal for less than 14 bucks. He figures that it is the cashier’s responsibility to ring up his sale correctly and he has done nothing wrong. Has he lied? Are his actions morally acceptable?

Lying and deception

On her résumé, Felicity claims that in college she donated 15 hours per week to help as a volunteer at a shelter for battered women. What she doesn’t say is that this was required as a service learning component in a women’s studies course she took. Is it a lie? Is it deceptive? Is it wrong?

Lying and deception

  • In order to supplement his salary from a local grocery store, Antoine starts a small lawn-mowing business in his neighborhood. His insists that his customers pay him in cash, and he does not report this income on his income tax. Antoine figures he is doing nothing wrong, since taxes are already taking a big bite out of his paycheck from the grocery store. Is he attempting to deceive? Are his actions morally okay?

Lying and deception

A man was laid off from his position as a graphic designer and technical writer for a software firm. He immediately began looking for a new job. The résumé he sent out accurately describes his skills and experience but includes an important untruth: it claims that he continues to work for his former employer. “It is much, much, much harder to get a job if you are not already employed,” the man explains. “I have two kids to feed an am not about to risk my livelihood on some trivial moral imperative. Outside of this situation, I am a 100 percent morally, ethically upstanding person.” The man understands that there is a decent chance that his lie will be discovered, e.g., by a a simple phone call to the former employer to confirm dates of employment. Still, he feels that this is a risk that he must take. Has he done anything wrong?*

*Jeffrey L. Seglin, “Necessary Lies,” New York Times, October 3, 2004.

Lying and deception

  • “On Sept. 26, 2001, [Ken] Lay was touting Enron’s stock to employees in an online chat. He said he’d been buying in previous months. Public records showed that was true, to the tune of about $4 million. But Lay had sold $24 million of Enron’s stock to Enron in the previous two months. He didn’t mention that. Under SEC rules at the time, Lay had to disclose public sales or purchases within 10 days - but could wait until February 2002 to disclose transactions with Enron itself. Lay should have told his employees about those sales and explained that he was selling for personal reasons but nevertheless believed in the company. Instead, he misled his employees - and the financial markets - by omission.” Allan Sloan, Newsweek, July 19, 2004, p. 50*

  • *Allan Sloan, Newsweek, July 19, 2004, p. 50.