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Lies: Consequentialist and Deontological Theories Essay

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Updated: May 2nd, 2022

Telling a lie is a character that exists in human beings, which is practiced often than other behaviors like integrity and honesty. It occurs in the society as a wrong act according to the morals of human beings. In spite of the morals of the society, everybody lie to survive in various situations of life (Souryal 218). Lying and deception are therefore discussed based on ethical theories presented by the philosophers. The consequentialism and deontological theories have been put in place to give views on the concept of lying and deception.

The consequential theory explains the impacts of lying focusing on how the act of lying undermines human beings by letting those lying to have power over the fellow human beings. Honesty is therefore essential for survival in the society. The deontology on the other hand has the view that deception denies human beings respect as rational beings, which is a natural aspect. Deception is a generic notion with statements that the speaker may tend to believe is true though misleading. These statements can convey impressions, which are not true by simply withholding the information (Souryal 225).

Lies and deception are therefore issues that mislead individuals into having wrong conclusions. Lies manipulate human beings hence diminishing their dignity and are therefore likened to violence since they force people to engage in acts they are not willing. Just as the coercer lures people to do as per his or her will through threats, a liar on the other hand undermines thinking of the other individual.

Philosophers like Kant, Augustine and Socrates hold the view that the virtue of veracity is unconditional and that it is something that is expected in all situations of human life. There are no exceptions therefore in human life where truthfulness is not essential even if it is in the case of death. God therefore considers lying as a vice even if it does not cause harm to a specific individual since it generally causes harm to the society as a forbidden act. Some philosophers hold the view that the natural law does not prohibit all lies (Souryal 236). Many philosophers believe that it is not practical to condemn the act of lying simply because the common sense of human beings dictates that there must be instances when falsehood is acceptable.

The duty of being truthful is a social condition that is imposed to all members of the society. People are obliged to communicate ideas, which are believed to be true for others to be aware and certain of the true aspects of the society to be relied upon. The police are the people who have been held with dignity by the society as being truthful because they are given the power to give people freedom through the constitutional rights.

Consenquentionalism theory explains that lies are natural acts and can be justified depending on the results. In this case, lies that increase happiness as the outcome or cause no harm are justified to be acceptable in the society. On the other hand, lies that cause harm to individuals or the society as a whole or decrease the happiness are condemned. Lies are therefore said to be harmful to other people depending on the effect they have in the society (Souryal 245).When the benefit of the lie is greater, the effect is less serious and less harmful if the effect benefits the deceived person.

If lies are to be accepted, the society has the duty of identifying which lies are to be accepted and under which circumstances they should be justifiable. This should be done in the public forums like the court proceedings though to some extent this is not practical because people are living in a world that is full of lies as much as they will be willing to serve genuinely in the public forums. As much as the legal systems permit the police to lie, though in strictly defined situations, it is not in a written statement for them to mention it when they are sworn in for duties (Souryal 259). They are therefore allowed to cheat in circumstances like when conducting interviews, interrogations as well as carrying out investigations.

The psychology of lying has a specific body of literature in which it is constituted like the self-esteem of an individual, the ego and the sense of self-protection. The sociological aspect on the other hand is expressed through the neutralization theory, differential association and the learning theory. The literature behind the psychological aspect of lying and deceiving is that the individual acquires happiness through the satisfaction of his/her ego by either obtaining the sense of being powerful or manipulating the emotions of other people.

The sociological theories explain the deviance among the police force. In the sociological aspect, crimes are learnt from others just like the way people learn other behaviors. The attitude held by the society towards a particular crime is learnt in the same way. As much as the police force is allowed to act falsely under restricted circumstances the society might feel that it is practicing injustice especially when some of the cases in the court are seen to be minor and the culprits released, which could be against the society’s expectations (Souryal 264). The police encounter political and moral conflicts in their daily duties where they are tempted to engage in corrupt deals if they follow the utilitarian way of reasoning.

The act of lying and deception has manifested in other professions apart from the police force especially among the lawyers, nurses and doctors where their professional ethics require that they maintain tell the truth in all activities. Lying and deception has therefore become a practice in their daily activities. Among the lawyers, this is practiced in the relationship with the clients, the public as well as other lawyers. The lawyers can therefore deceive the clients by misrepresenting their experience as well as knowledge for them to gain the trust of the clients. The lawyer deceives the public by presenting false statements even though he or she is aware of the crimes the client has committed.

The doctors on the other hand take oaths with a code of ethics that demands them to offer quality services to the clients. This includes improving their health condition as well as maintaining secret of the medical condition. On the contrary, doctors have always distorted and omitted information regarding the clients and misrepresented it to avoid stress and emotional torture. For instance, the doctors use terminologies like “no reported cases” as a way of deceiving the public especially when there are alarming incidents, which have occurred but they do not want to disclose the information to the public.

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IvyPanda. (2022) 'Lies: Consequentialist and Deontological Theories'. 2 May.

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