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Ethics: The Idea and Concept of Lying

In this interview, the idea of lying is briefly described, proving the complexity of this issue and the impossibility of choosing one definite position. On the one hand, many people want to remove lies from their lives and enjoy the world based on fair and true relationships, emotions, and attitudes. On the other hand, there are many events when lying is inevitable, provoking positive and negative outcomes. In fact, many things depend on people and their personal development. A lie is something that goes without saying in human life, even if it is proved to be morally wrong and ethically unacceptable. It is hard to ignore some cases when lying can be morally permissible, and three approaches were introduced to analyze the essence of lying, namely Kantian, Aristotelian, and Utilitarian.

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The exchange of ideas is a unique opportunity to learn what other people think about the same theme and what excuses are chosen to support or oppose the morality of lying. The interviewee used the act-centered approach to explain her answers about lies and her actions and decisions in different periods of life. The reason for this decision is simple – the person identifies her responsibilities and obligations and is motivated to do what is required for achieving morally good results. I agree with this position because agent-centered theories seem to be more individualistic and even wrong as much attention is paid to one person, not an overall situation. I think that lying should be interpreted within a situation in general, not a person. When most people understand the essence of lying, its reasons, and it outcomes, it is easy to judge participants and explain everything.

The information from the interview helps recognize that people cannot take a specific position about lying and contradict their own words in a short period. First, the interviewee shared a definite position that a lie is wrong and unnecessary. Several questions later, another statement is given to find an excuse for lies and use parent-children relationships as an example. The ambiguity of such answers can be discussed through the prism of three philosophical thoughts offered by Aristotle, Kant, and Utilitarians. Kant was one of the strictest philosophers who believed that lying was morally wrong, and people had to use their dignity to make free decisions, follow goals, and use reasons. Lying corrupts, and it is the responsibility of every individual to avoid unnecessary damage, meaning no lies. Aristotle was more ambiguous in his discussion, condemning most lies but accepting some lies to avoid harm. The Utilitarian arguments are even less provocative because they do not consider lying immoral if benefits are maximized, harms are minimized, and rational decisions are made. I would take the third approach for granted because lying is inevitable but never all-determining.

The interview and the approaches covered during the course helped me realize that it is wrong to create one specific attitude toward lying and classify human behaviors as truth or lies only. I belong to a group of people who use many colors to describe this life, not only white and black. Sometimes, a good lie is better than the truth, and a person has to decide whether to lie or not, relying on the current situation, involved people, and potential consequences. There are many lies that bring positive emotions to children (the example of Santa beliefs) or avoid pointless grief or concerns. Thus, it is correct to say that not lies but embellished truths are preferred from time to time. Exceptional cases to permit lying and make them morally appropriate vary, and it has to be a decision of a person what to say, act, or think. Some lies could be easily understood and justified, while others need more time, experience, and knowledge to formulate opinions.

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