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Morality of Communication

Accidental Deception

In my last post, I gave the conditions for deception in general. Accidental deception is that kind of deception in which someone is deceived, but there was no intent to deceive. It is morally wrong only if not enough care was taken to avoid deceiving the person addressed. There are several ways that someone could fail to give sufficient care to what he is saying. They could fail to reasonably cons...

Intentional Deception

In my last post, I discussed accidental deception and showed that it was wrong if reasonable precautions were not taken to avoid it. Intentional deception has two forms. In one, the message understood by the sender is deceptive and in the other, the message understood by the recipient is deceptive. The moral acceptability of one form of intentional deception does not imply the moral acceptability ...

Lying is Immoral

In my last two posts, I discussed two ways of deceiving others and pointed out that both were acceptable at some time or other. But neither form involved the highest form of deception – claiming something to be true when we believe that it is false. Lying is never morally permissible. The first reason why lying is wrong is that it is contrary to the natural purpose of speech. Through speech, we ma...

Permitting Deception

In my previous post, I set out the basics on why lying is always immoral. But deception is permissible. In order to understand why lying is wrong, further understanding of deception is necessary. Determining when deception is permissible is a matter of justice. In order to act justly, deception may be necessary. But there are also other circumstances in which justice demands that deception not occ...