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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Today I got into a pointless discussion with my boyfriend about what constitutes a lie and if lying is always wrong.

He says no matter what, a lie is always wrong.

I say, sometimes lying can be for the good.

I gave him an example of having to decide to tell a lie to save a innocent person's life. He actually said that he would do the same, but it would not mean that telling that lie was not wrong.

In this respect, how do you decide what IS wrong? Does it really matter if the intention is good or bad, if the means are good or bad.... as long as common good prevails in the end? Even though I'm the most honest person I know, I can't be completely honest if I just say lying is wrong without considering all the possibilities, and that certainly I would lie and believe it was good to do so under special circumstances.

Can you really say something is wrong and still do it for the greater good? Isn't that lying to yourself?

What do you think?
 

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Today I got into a pointless discussion with my boyfriend about what constitutes a lie and if lying is always wrong.

He says no matter what, a lie is always wrong.

I say, sometimes lying can be for the good.

I gave him an example of having to decide to tell a lie to save a innocent person's life. He actually said that he would do the same, but it would not mean that telling that lie was not wrong.

In this respect, how do you decide what IS wrong? Does it really matter if the intention is good or bad, if the means are good or bad.... as long as common good prevails in the end? Even though I'm the most honest person I know, I can't be completely honest if I just say lying is wrong without considering all the possibilities, and that certainly I would lie and believe it was good to do so under special circumstances.

Can you really say something is wrong and still do it for the greater good? Isn't that lying to yourself?

What do you think?
I agree with your boyfriend. Lies are by definition are wrong.

Telling a lie in order to save a life doesn't suddenly make the lie true.
:tongue:
 

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One could equate lying two ways: the direct result or the indirect result. The direct result isn't always wrong: perhaps you saved someone's life, decreased unnecessary pain in their life, helped a person get through a hard time, etc.

The indirect result of lying may be allowing your mind to function in an "alternate reality" for any given moment--be that a few microseconds or a few years--where you essentially allow for an untrue possibility to exist. Persons who lie frequently end up developing habits where they believe their own lies so that they become truths.

The brain is like a muscle--the more you use it in a specific way, the more it develops in that way. If one is to fill their life with white lies, then the world begins to be perceived with many additional possibilities (untruths).

This "ability" can be very detrimental in the long run, as the person is essentially becoming practiced in the art of manipulation (first through themselves then toward others). Not that manipulating others for one's own gain is "good" or "evil," but that fooling yourself in order to do so is so detrimental, almost the antithesis of life, that lying becomes inherently "wrong."

Of course, a person who understands themselves and knows their subconscious well may be able to "utilize" lying without negatively impacting their sense of self and ability to remain open unto themselves. I suppose that'd be up for the liar to know/understand.
 

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I don't know if I have the energy for this anymore...

Your questions encompass issues in ethics, ontology, and metaphysics. Read "A Critique of Pure Reason" and you'll get an education. Have you really never thought about this before?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I agree with your boyfriend. Lies are by definition are wrong.

Telling a lie in order to save a life doesn't suddenly make the lie true.
:tongue:
I didn't mean that a lie turns true, but that it would become morally right.

In other words, lying is not always a bad thing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
One could equate lying two ways: the direct result or the indirect result. The direct result isn't always wrong: perhaps you saved someone's life, decreased unnecessary pain in their life, helped a person get through a hard time, etc.

The indirect result of lying may be allowing your mind to function in an "alternate reality" for any given moment--be that a few microseconds or a few years--where you essentially allow for an untrue possibility to exist. Persons who lie frequently end up developing habits where they believe their own lies so that they become truths.

Of course, a person who understands themselves and knows their subconscious well may be able to "utilize" lying without negatively impacting their sense of self and ability to remain open unto themselves. I suppose that'd be up for the liar to know/understand.
Now this is what I call a sound response! I can't not agree with you in everything you said. But then another question arises... can any given person judge for themselves if they are fit to utilize lies in a way that won't negatively impact their senses...

I believe that's the case with me, but if I was already a liar/manipulator... would't I say the same exact thing?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I don't know if I have the energy for this anymore...

Your questions encompass issues in ethics, ontology, and metaphysics. Read "A Critique of Pure Reason" and you'll get an education. Have you really never thought about this before?
??? You don't have the energy for discussion? are you really an ENTP?

I find it invigorating to get as much feedback as I can from different kinds of people. These kind of topics will forever be polemic and so much fun to talk about. I don't think all human kind's knowledge is written in one or many books alone. There's a wealth of knowledge found in interaction.

And yes, I have asked myself this and most other things many times. I don't think asking oneself and keep wondering is ever going to be a waste of time :) And luckily, we have people to interact with in this forum that can enrich our view on things and in return we can hopefully enrich theirs ^_^
 

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Today I got into a pointless discussion with my boyfriend about what constitutes a lie and if lying is always wrong.

He says no matter what, a lie is always wrong.

I say, sometimes lying can be for the good.

I gave him an example of having to decide to tell a lie to save a innocent person's life. He actually said that he would do the same, but it would not mean that telling that lie was not wrong.

In this respect, how do you decide what IS wrong? Does it really matter if the intention is good or bad, if the means are good or bad.... as long as common good prevails in the end? Even though I'm the most honest person I know, I can't be completely honest if I just say lying is wrong without considering all the possibilities, and that certainly I would lie and believe it was good to do so under special circumstances.

Can you really say something is wrong and still do it for the greater good? Isn't that lying to yourself?

What do you think?
The "lying to save an innocent person's life" needs to be clarified because I think there is probably only one extremely rare example of this that I can see in which lying would be the right thing to do.
But it is rare that someone is in danger and is innocent. Typically it is cause an effect and they, in some way, are responsible for the danger that follows them even if they are not necessarily deserving of it.

Lying is pretty much wrong morally and if you take away morals then it is definitely by definition wrong.

The truth is hard sometimes but it generally will result in more favorable results in the long run even if it immediately produces harsh results.
 

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Lying is pretty much wrong morally and if you take away morals then it is definitely by definition wrong.
I say morals are "personal laws" defined by your own self, while ethics are more or less "personal laws" defined by society. Thus lying is not always morally or ethically wrong, which is what the OP was asking in the first place.

It's all in the power of the subconscious when it comes to lying, and how much one wishes to control or be controlled. The worst possible scenario I can imagine is allowing my subconscious to run free, playing manipulative games if it wishes, and not taking responsibility for the outcome. "I couldn't help it, I didn't know it was happening, I didn't even know I was feeling that way," etc.

But perhaps that's just me and my perspective.
 

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My vocabulary is slightly intimidated by this thread but I'll give it a try. We are often told as children that if we have nothing nice to say we should not say anything, which would avoid encouraging a lie or even a white lie by encouraging silence, but later in life that seems to not be a problem.

So would it be more morally correct to tell someone they look fat in a dress or even clothing has nothing to do with their fat... they always look fat. Or should you be silent or tell something less than the truth- you look fine, or even maybe wear the blue dress. Which brings the idea of lying by omission- is omitting a fact lying, or does that label belong only with a direct untruth. The American justice system asks us to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth. But does that apply to everyday life.

Personally I don't condone lying but I don't see how our world could be in any way harmonious if everyone always told the whole truth about everything. Imagine if when someone was asked what are you thinking and they always told the truth. How many arguments and deeper problems would be started that wouldn't need to be. Things that could be avoided with a simple white lie or omission. Think of what you say everyday and what you hear people say. If anyone or everyone always told the truth the chaos that would ensue would be catastrophic.
 

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I say morals are "personal laws" defined by your own self, while ethics are more or less "personal laws" defined by society. Thus lying is not always morally or ethically wrong, which is what the OP was asking in the first place.

It's all in the power of the subconscious when it comes to lying, and how much one wishes to control or be controlled. The worst possible scenario I can imagine is allowing my subconscious to run free, playing manipulative games if it wishes, and not taking responsibility for the outcome. "I couldn't help it, I didn't know it was happening, I didn't even know I was feeling that way," etc.

But perhaps that's just me and my perspective.
I suppose that the question really has no solid answer because everyone has different perspectives on lying and morals. My morals and someone elses differ so if I say lying is right or wrong someone else will have a different answer because their morals will differ from mine...and I guess that one can't really define morals as right or wrong without using either someone elses morals or ethics...and one can even disagree with ethics.

So ultimately the question has no right or wrong answer. It's like politics or religion. We'll be here all day trying to figure this one out LOL.
 

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Lying is obviously saying something that you don't honestly believe to be true.

Before Copernicus, people said the earth was flat and they can't be considered as liars because they truly belived that the earth was flat, bless their flat souls :p


But lying in some cases is validated.

Doesn't mean that it isn't 'wrong', in my opinion.
It just means that it's practically a good solution to a problem that you can't otherwise sort out.

wrong and right are very different to different people so that definition for an individual may be different too.

For me, lying is wrong, however good it may be to do it.
I'd still do it and try to validate my action by saying that it's for the greater good
but i know that it is still wrong...in my opinion based on my morals.
 

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Before Copernicus, people said the earth was flat and they can't be considered as liars because they truly belived that the earth was flat, bless their flat souls :p
Actually that's not true, it's just a myth. Most people knew the world is round and they'd known since the ancient greeks found out.

Spherical Earth - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

What Copernicus said was that the earth orbited the sun and not vice versa.
 

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Actually that's not true, it's just a myth. Most people knew the world is round and they'd known since the ancient greeks found out.

Spherical Earth - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

What Copernicus said was that the earth orbited the sun and not vice versa.
lol, you're right. i guess i wasn't really thinking about it. :p

I do remember reading that greek philosophers noticed the angle of the sun's shadow in egypt versus greece and realized that the earth had to be spherical. :p

thanks for correcting Le mistake
 

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lol, you're right. i guess i wasn't really thinking about it. :p

I do remember reading that greek philosophers noticed the angle of the sun's shadow in egypt versus greece and realized that the earth had to be spherical. :p

thanks for correcting Le mistake
Yeah Carl Sagan talks about it in Cosmos...
 

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Lying is generally wrong, but there are exceptions. I think there are exceptions to everything that's morally wrong that make it ok in that situation, but I hate it when people use these exceptions to create double standards in society.
 

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Lying is just a tool. It's your intentions behind the lie and the consequences of it that determines whether or not it's wrong. Inherently lying is just totally morally neutral.

Granted though lying is stupid more often than not, especially because other people are touchy about the truth and will think less of you even though the lie they found out wasn't malicious.
 
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