Nine months ago I made this post examining whether lying was ok. I did not really finish the thought. If you do not want to go back and re-read the original post, I go over some of Kant and Hegel’s ideas on the matter, provide a rough definition of lying (intentionally deception), say that I’ve danced around the question, and then tell you to come back next time.
I’ve spilled a lot of digital ink since that post, and now I feel that within my framework I can answer the question quite easily – if a lie is deemed necessary by an autonomous person, then so be it, and I’m not inclined to judge them harshly for it. Then again, I’m disinclined to harsh judgements in general. Much more pertinent within my system to understanding my general moral outlook is how I comport myself (or, how I think I should comport myself). Unfortunately, these general rules of comportment aren’t actually very interesting. I think I’m generally utilitarian on the matter, with a little bit of Kant or Plato thrown in (I’ll sometimes intentionally deceive on small matters if they make life easier, but sometimes on larger issues I will not deceive because I believe that deception is harmful to the system itself).
I think that this non-prescriptive tendency pervades the ethical aspects of my system. There are ethical theorists that I like (e.g. Existentialism, Heidegger’s phenomenology) and these strongly inform my more reflective ethical thinking. I do not really proscribe these as tenants to others though. My ultimate ethical imperative is that I think it is important for people to reflect, research, and not be ambivalent on the subject. My system really only makes one ethical argument, and that argument is that ethics is a fundamental and inescapable aspect of our being, therefore we can only choose to moralize actively or passively (I.e. autonomy vs slavery).
So, I’m ok with you lying as long as you think carefully about it first and decide that it is the right thing for you to do,
Thanks for reading,
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