General Question

dopeguru's avatar

Do you think that lying should be a moral concern?

Asked by dopeguru (1917points) December 16th, 2014

Is it good bad or not important generally speaking? Why do you think so? (Do you consider yourself utilitarianist, deontologist or virtue ethics pursuer in this sense)

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28 Answers

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Of course it should be a moral concern,and lying to spare one feelings is one thing,but politicians and lawyers have made careers out of it and that is bad.

hominid's avatar

Lying is immoral. Other than the “hiding Jews in the attic scenario”, there is no justification for lying.

@SQUEEKY2: “lying to spare one feelings is one thing”

This is also highly immoral and cancerous to any true relationship or healthy society.

seekingwolf's avatar

Depends on why you lie and how lying impacts the situation.

I lie a ton at work. Not to coworkers, but patients. I work in a hospital and many of the patients come from bad backgrounds and are not in good mind States. They ask personal questions and try to gauge you and manipulate you. I lie my ass off to throw them off and avoid confrontation and get on their good side so I can do my job better.

I actually have BS degree (not required for this job), come from a good family, have a car, etc. I lie and say that I haven’t gone to college, no car, no money. I am childfree but I lie and say that I want kids someday.

Once they are under the impression that I am poor and uneducated, they are actually easier to work with. Maybe because they don’t feel threatened? I don’t know. It makes my job a lot easier and I am known in my position for avoiding confrontation. How do I do that? I lie.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

@hominid sure and your going to tell your wife, yes honey those jeans do make your butt look fat.
Oh no honey I just love your mother.
Sure I believe you would be god awful honest with her on those.

hominid's avatar

@SQUEEKY2: ”@hominid sure and your going to tell your wife, yes honey those jeans do make your butt look fat.”

Yes. I do. She does the same. I would divorce her tonight if she didn’t.

@SQUEEKY2: “Oh no honey I just love your mother.”

I tell my wife exactly what I think of her mother. And she does the same.

@SQUEEKY2: “Sure I believe you would be god awful honest with her on those.”

I’m confused. Are you here to defend lying? You lie to your wife? What kind of relationship is that?

seekingwolf's avatar

@hominid By your logic, I should be honest with the next nutty person at my work who asks me “Be honest, what do you think about me? I’m a mess right?” and I should say what I’m thinking: “You’re such a hot, psychotic mess, I don’t know how you look in the mirror”.

That’s a good way to get punched, sir. And I have been assaulted at work. Trust me, it’s not fun.

Instead I say “Oh no, you’ve have difficulties but we all do. I know with the right help and time, you can improve your life. We are here to help but remember, we can’t do it all, you have to commit to change too.” knowing that they’ll be coming back in record time. Empty words.

LostInParadise's avatar

Philosophers have looked at morality from various points of view, and I applaud them for doing so, but in the end it comes down to gut instinct. I could give any number of reasons for why it is best to tell the truth, but the biggest determiner is that it just feels so wrong not to. Does that mean I have never lied? That would be the biggest lie of all. I have done so and not always for the best of reasons, but I do make an effort to be truthful.

hominid's avatar

@seekingwolf – I spent 3 years working with adults with schizophrenia. Yes, there are some scenarios where safety concerns mean that you need to lie and remove yourself from a situation. But 99.999% of the time, I was brutally honest, and my clients were grateful.

But in general, I don’t think the question of morality and lying is rooted in these exceptions (Nazis or the insane). It’s safe to say that in almost every interaction you have between now and the time you die, you will have the opportunity to not lie. And that is the right thing to do (if morality means anything at all).

tinyfaery's avatar

Everyone lies. It’s how and why the social contract is heeded.

Morals are subjective.

seekingwolf's avatar

@hominid I am honest with them about treatments and such (because they ought to know) but I lie when it comes to personget asked all sorts of awful personal questions and I can’t decline to answer, because they get angry and that puts me at risk. Experience tell me that it’s safer for me to lie because lying makes them complacent. Telling them the truth, that I am actually comparatively doing well in life, leaves me open to the risk of violence and disruption. Which is neither good for them or me.

Safety concerns should always be taken into account.

hominid's avatar

@tinyfaery: “Morals are subjective.”

You really believe that? If I recall, you had an interest in social justice, right? What drives this? This type of thing seems based in a belief that morality is more than just preference.

kritiper's avatar

It should be a moral concern if it causes harm in any way.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

Lying is and should be a moral concern.

I agree with @hominid too. There are ways to be honest and truthful without being cruel. If my daughter asks me what I think of a dress, or whether she should wear a particular pair of pants, I tell her. If the pants look bad, I tell her. I don’t put her down but I tell her they don’t suit her.

Like @hominid, I want people to be truthful with me, even if I may not like what they say.

I definitely want my government to be honest. I accept that there are times when national security situations may prevent a leader disclosing certain information but they should say they can’t discuss certain things rather than lying.

longgone's avatar

I don’t consider honesty more admirable than lying in all situations.

I don’t even know what “being good” actually means.

syz's avatar

“Should be”? Isn’t it pretty well accepted as a moral issue?

tinyfaery's avatar

That’s why I say lying is not a moral issue. Such a blanket term identifies nothing. My morals don’t match yours, that’s subjective. You are taking things to an illogical conclusion.

Me saying morals are subjective is just a fact.

JLeslie's avatar

I’m going to say it is a moral issue, because how we treat others, including lying, can be good or bad, or have good or bad consequences.

I agree with @tinyfaery that morality can be subjective, but I also agree with @hominid that lying can cause harm and that why I see it as a moral issue. I think it is immoral to abuse a spouse for instance, and lying can be abusive. It harms the relationship.

I admitted to lying by omission on a recent Q. Omitting I am an atheist in some social circumstances. A jelly tried to tell me that isn’t a lie, and I disagree I believe it is. Different definitions of lying also play into the subjectivity of the issue.

I think for safety it is ok, even good, to lie. So, yes lying can be moral. As a jelly said above, Jews in the attic is one example. Or, a child saying their mom can’t come to the door right now when there isn’t even a parent home is a good lie.

Coloma's avatar

I think honesty is very important, aside from the examples presented for safety reasons.
I am proud to say that I have never lied, cheated on, or otherwise harmed anyone through dishonesty.

flutherother's avatar

Lying is a moral concern and while there are no hard and fast rules it is better to be truthful.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Seeing I believe we are viewing if from a secular concern, I will say more of a business concern but not moral.

augustlan's avatar

I think it is a moral issue, yes. Even a ‘harmless’ lie has the ability to hurt someone, if the lie is discovered. (The very act of being lied to is harmful, in other words.)

I’m a big believer in truth-telling and sort of live by the idea that it’s entirely possible to be both truthful and kind in most circumstances. Of course I’d lie to save a life, and would consider lying by omission if the information I’d otherwise share would cause grave harm.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

No, as I lie frequently.

For example I will refer to someone as a “gentleman” or “lady” when they clearly are not one.

Coloma's avatar

I pretend to like my friends dog when really, I am not a fan of dogs.
Not really lying exactly, but I certainly wouldn’t say ” Dogs are noisy, smelly, sloppy, obnoxious needy things. ” lol

hominid's avatar

^ @Coloma – Right. You might not just walk up to your friend and tell him/her your unsolicited opinion about dogs. The fact that we don’t offer up to people every single thought as soon as it pops into our head doesn’t mean it’s dishonest. Rather, if your friend asked you what you thought of dogs, and you said, “I love them”, that would be a lie. And many people fail to see this as immoral. They are just not looking hard enough at the problem.

While you don’t need to go out of your way to walk up to visit your friend at work tomorrow and offer up your opinion on dogs in order to lead a moral life, it’s important to consider timing. It’s also helpful to try to be completely honest as to not give the wrong impression. For example, I don’t like cats. At all. To me, they’re terrifying creatures with weapons on their hands, have the blank stare of your run-of-the-mill pyschopath, and cause instant asthma attacks. However, if my friend Andrea asked me my opinion about cats, I would be honest. Yes, I am not interested in being around cats and certainly don’t want one for a pet. But I really appreciate her cat _for the happiness it brings to my friend’s life. An honest comment – and expanded comments – don’t have to be hurtful to people, even if you have different opinions.

Coloma's avatar

@hominid Exactly, and I have said something similar, that I love all animals but dogs are my least favorite because they require so much work and attention but I have no evil desire to see a dog harmed or neglected either. haha

Safie's avatar

Everyone does it and chooses when and where to do so why not.

hominid's avatar

@Safie: “Everyone does it and chooses when and where to do so why not.”

Well, there’s the old jumping off the bridge saying…

But seriously. It’s not true that everyone does it. And more importantly, wouldn’t you rather not be deceived?

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