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presents. LYING. By Larry Chonko, Ph.D. The University of Texas at Arlington. Lying.

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presents

LYING

By Larry Chonko, Ph.D.The University of Texas at Arlington

lying
Lying

In each of two rooms there are two buttons – one red and one green. If two students (one in each room) push the same button (color does not matter), then they each receive a reward (a B in the class in which you are speaking). If they push different buttons, one receives a lesser reward (a C in the class) and one receives a greater reward (an A in the class). Neither student knows which button leads to the higher grade.

Student Y receives a text message from student X saying, “I pushed the green button.” If each student acts on self interest and they are aware of the circumstances, what button will student Y push?

The rational thing for student Y to do, seemingly, would be to push the green button. But, what reason does student Y have to believe that student X’s text message is true? You would have to believe that student X acts in his/her own self-interest. Perhaps student X believes that the rational thing to do is to assert the opposite of what he/she believes in this case. Unless this possibility can be ruled out, it is difficult to see what basis one would have for pushing the green rather than the red button.

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Lying

KANT’S VIEW

  • Lying is always morally wrong.
  • All people are born with an intrinsic worthcalled human dignity.
  • This dignity was rooted in this view that people are rational, capable of freely making their own decisions, setting their own goals, and guiding their own conduct through sound reasoning
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VIRTUE ETHICS

  • Lying is morally wrong
  • Virtue ethicists focus on the character of a person – what that person should be
  • Virtues are desirable qualities that predispose people to act in certain ways
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UTILITARIAN VIEWPOINT

  • The only test needed for judging the morality of an action is the balance of benefits and harms of the consequences of the action
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CAN LYING BE EXCUSED?

  • Avoiding harm
  • Benefits
  • Fairness
  • Protection