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Is it ever ok to lie?

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Re: Is it ever ok to lie?

Postby A Philosopher on Mon Jun 20, 2016 2:29 am

Nothing wrote:
Ervin wrote:I am interested in what is the opinion on the subject of lies. Is it ever ok? If it is then when?

Thanks


When I've read Steve Hagen's book 'Buddhism Plain and Simple' years ago , there was this example related to your question:

"For example, suppose you're harboring a family of Jews
in your attic when two Gestapo officers come to your door.
They ask you the whereabouts of the family. Do you say
they're in your attic?"


I don't think that there is a definitive answer to that question to which you can stick to.
I would say it depends on the circumstances, it some circumstances it can be wise and compassionate to lie as in the example above, in other the lie is just a habitual response, where the every next lie just makes stronger that habitual tendency when awareness is not present i.e pointed in wrong direction, and that is not just about lying, but about any of our afflictions. :) This is not to say I don't lie, but usually I notice that either during the telling of the lie, or the moment after it is told.

Victor


I think there is a definite answer to this question: we lie to save innocent lives.

Incidentally, the question is a follow up on a question Kant's students asked him. Kant was an absolutist maintaining that moral rules are extremely simple and that they admit to no exceptions. The philosophical consensus is that moral rules must be somewhat qualified (tehre are exceptions to them). The only open question is how best to formulate these exceptions.

I myself would argue that it's morally permissible to lie to save an innocent life and to avert other similar evils. also, white lies are permissible.
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Re: Is it ever ok to lie?

Postby Nothing on Tue Jun 21, 2016 8:50 am

A Philosopher wrote:I think there is a definite answer to this question: we lie to save innocent lives.

Incidentally, the question is a follow up on a question Kant's students asked him. Kant was an absolutist maintaining that moral rules are extremely simple and that they admit to no exceptions. The philosophical consensus is that moral rules must be somewhat qualified (tehre are exceptions to them). The only open question is how best to formulate these exceptions.

I myself would argue that it's morally permissible to lie to save an innocent life and to avert other similar evils. also, white lies are permissible.


Hi AP

Personally I will always "lie" when human or animal life can be threatened, but still think that there will be exceptions to " we lie to save innocent lives" too, because If there are not, then we again come to Kant and his absolutism I think.

I agree about the philosophical consensus that moral rules must be qualified and that reminds me of the Buddhist precepts which are not prescriptive or normative but descriptive.
So that lead us to prajna and the skillful means which are result of that insight where the exceptions are spontaneously "formulated" according to the situation at place.
"There is no vestige of a beginning, no prospect of an end" - James Hutton
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