1. Standard memberAgerg
    The 'edit'or
    converging to it
    Joined
    21 Aug '06
    Moves
    11458
    19 Jul '11 22:095 edits
    Hypothetical question...

    Suppose I believed X was false when it was infact true, and suppose further that

    Telling a person correctly that X was true would save a thousand lives (and cost none) whilst
    Telling a person incorrectly that X was false would cost a thousand lives (and save none)

    Should I convey true or false information about X?
  2. Joined
    24 Apr '05
    Moves
    3061
    20 Jul '11 01:56
    Originally posted by Agerg
    Hypothetical question...

    Suppose I believed X was false when it was infact true, and suppose further that

    Telling a person correctly that X was true would save a thousand lives (and cost none) whilst
    Telling a person incorrectly that X was false would cost a thousand lives (and save none)

    Should I convey true or false information about X?
    In your hypothetical, it is not clear whether or not you know the further information that reporting X would save lives while reporting not-X would cost lives.

    The following could be a hypothetical that I think would show that lying is not always wrong.

    Suppose:
    (1) P.
    (2) You know (1).
    (3) You find yourself in a position to either report P to S or report not-P to S.
    (4) If you report P to S, then it will cost innocent lives.
    (5) You know (4).
    (6) If you report not-P to S, then it will spare innocent lives.
    (7) You know (6).

    Here, you ought to lie and report not-P to S.
  3. St. Peter's
    Joined
    06 Dec '10
    Moves
    11308
    20 Jul '11 12:292 edits
    Originally posted by Agerg
    Hypothetical question...

    Suppose I believed X was false when it was infact true, and suppose further that

    Telling a person correctly that X was true would save a thousand lives (and cost none) whilst
    Telling a person incorrectly that X was false would cost a thousand lives (and save none)

    Should I convey true or false information about X?
    Kant would argue that the truth is a moral imperative


    for example: If a friend (say a woman) asks how she looks in a particular dress, and you say "great" but she really looks quite slutty (you lie to spare her feelings), and unbeknownst to you she is leaving for a job interview. She is denied employment because the hiring manager felt that she dressed unprofessionally for the interview. She should have been told the truth regardless of her feelings.

    When we lie to people (regardless of our intentions) we rob them of their autonomy and ability to decide. It's like saying we don't believe they should have control of their own decision making process
  4. Standard memberavalanchethecat
    Not actually a cat
    Joined
    09 Apr '10
    Moves
    14251
    20 Jul '11 17:18
    Originally posted by Agerg
    Hypothetical question...

    Suppose I believed X was false when it was infact true, and suppose further that

    Telling a person correctly that X was true would save a thousand lives (and cost none) whilst
    Telling a person incorrectly that X was false would cost a thousand lives (and save none)

    Should I convey true or false information about X?
    There are of course occasions when lying is the right thing to do, although I'm not entirely convinced that this hypothetical situation is one of them. What happens if you don't choose either option?
  5. Donationbbarr
    Chief Justice
    Center of Contention
    Joined
    14 Jun '02
    Moves
    17381
    20 Jul '11 22:261 edit
    Originally posted by Doward
    Kant would argue that the truth is a moral imperative


    for example: If a friend (say a woman) asks how she looks in a particular dress, and you say "great" but she really looks quite slutty (you lie to spare her feelings), and unbeknownst to you she is leaving for a job interview. She is denied employment because the hiring manager felt that she dressed u s like saying we don't believe they should have control of their own decision making process
    Of course, if we take the Kantian justification(s) for the Categorical Imperative seriously, it shouldn't matter whether she was leaving for an interview. This despite the fact that Kant gave a bizarre and laughably baroque consequentialist justification for lying to the murder at the door.
  6. Standard memberCalJust
    It is what it is
    Pretoria
    Joined
    20 Apr '04
    Moves
    34112
    21 Jul '11 10:41
    Originally posted by Doward
    If a friend (say a woman) asks how she looks in a particular dress, and you say "great" but she really looks quite slutty (you lie to spare her feelings), and unbeknownst to you she is leaving for a job interview. She is denied employment because the hiring manager felt that she dressed unprofessionally for the interview. She should have been told the truth regardless of her feelings.
    There are many ways of answering the question "how do I look?" without either lying or giving offence. For example, one could say "that blue dress suits you better", or "what are you dressed for?".

    Some years ago I spent an extended time in Japan, and in our orientation period we were told that Japanese people generally do not like to say "NO", especially when it can be construed as criticism, rejection, or anything that would make the enquirer "lose face".

    So, after having been told that the correct cultural behaviour was to bring a present (always confectionery!) when visiting someone, one day I wanted to bring the host's wife flowers instead of the prescribed sweets. I asked several people whether it would be socially acceptable for me to bring flowers. Without exception, everyone answered "it is better to bring sweets". NOBODY said "No, you should not bring flowers"!.

    I haven't got an answer for the dilemme of P and S and people possibly dying. This is probably similar to AliG asking the vegetarian whether he would eat a KFC chicken. After a vehement "NEVER!" the question was: "What would you do if I told you to eat the chicken, and if not, I will kill THIS chicken!"

    Bottom line: Honesty is always the best policy.

    Except when it is not....

    Cheers
    CJ
  7. Standard memberAgerg
    The 'edit'or
    converging to it
    Joined
    21 Aug '06
    Moves
    11458
    21 Jul '11 23:18
    Lemonjello:
    In your hypothetical, it is not clear whether or not you know the further information that reporting X would save lives while reporting not-X would cost lives.

    The following could be a hypothetical that I think would show that lying is not always wrong.

    Suppose:
    (1) P.
    (2) You know (1).
    (3) You find yourself in a position to either report P to S or report not-P to S.
    (4) If you report P to S, then it will cost innocent lives.
    (5) You know (4).
    (6) If you report not-P to S, then it will spare innocent lives.
    (7) You know (6).

    Here, you ought to lie and report not-P to S.

    Yes you are correct here in that I didn't specify my knowledge of the consequences of lying or not lying.
    I think your proposed solution might suffer a slight flaw in that for step (4) though we know reporting P to S will cost innocent lives, we haven't ruled out the possibly it might also save lives too. Same problem with (6)

    Avalanchethecat:
    There are of course occasions when lying is the right thing to do, although I'm not entirely convinced that this hypothetical situation is one of them. What happens if you don't choose either option?

    Yes, I have been too sloppy setting this question up it seems :]
  8. Joined
    24 Apr '05
    Moves
    3061
    21 Jul '11 23:20
    Originally posted by CalJust
    There are many ways of answering the question "how do I look?" without either lying or giving offence. For example, one could say "that blue dress suits you better", or "what are you dressed for?".

    Some years ago I spent an extended time in Japan, and in our orientation period we were told that Japanese people generally do not like to say "NO", especially ...[text shortened]... s [b]always
    the best policy.

    Except when it is not....

    Cheers
    CJ[/b]
    I haven't got an answer for the dilemme of P and S and people possibly dying. This is probably similar to AliG asking the vegetarian whether he would eat a KFC chicken.

    The following would be paradigmatic here.

    P = You are harboring a family of Jews in your basement.
    S = The Gestapo.
  9. Joined
    24 Apr '05
    Moves
    3061
    21 Jul '11 23:24
    Originally posted by Agerg
    [b]Lemonjello:
    In your hypothetical, it is not clear whether or not you know the further information that reporting X would save lives while reporting not-X would cost lives.

    The following could be a hypothetical that I think would show that lying is not always wrong.

    Suppose:
    (1) P.
    (2) You know (1).
    (3) You find yourself in a position to ...[text shortened]... ose either option?

    Yes, I have been too sloppy setting this question up it seems :][/b]
    I think your proposed solution might suffer a slight flaw in that for step (4) though we know reporting P to S will cost innocent lives, we haven't ruled out the possibly it might also save lives too. Same problem with (6)

    Okay, in that case, there should be an easy fix. We could just amend it to:

    (4) If you report P to S, the net effect will be that it costs innocent lives.

    and

    (6) If you report not-P to S, the net effect will be that it spares innocent lives.

    Or some such...
  10. Joined
    24 Apr '05
    Moves
    3061
    21 Jul '11 23:38
    Originally posted by bbarr
    Of course, if we take the Kantian justification(s) for the Categorical Imperative seriously, it shouldn't matter whether she was leaving for an interview. This despite the fact that Kant gave a bizarre and laughably baroque consequentialist justification for lying to the murder at the door.
    Hi bbarr. Where have you been?
  11. St. Peter's
    Joined
    06 Dec '10
    Moves
    11308
    22 Jul '11 15:09
    Originally posted by CalJust
    There are many ways of answering the question "how do I look?" without either lying or giving offence. For example, one could say "that blue dress suits you better", or "what are you dressed for?".

    Some years ago I spent an extended time in Japan, and in our orientation period we were told that Japanese people generally do not like to say "NO", especially ...[text shortened]... s [b]always
    the best policy.

    Except when it is not....

    Cheers
    CJ[/b]
    had the Japanese people you asked answered truthfully and with clarity it would have been much easeir for you to decide the best course of action. Kant's proposition still stands firm in this regard.



    side note: I lived in Japan for 4 1/2 years, I know exactly what you mean
  12. Joined
    27 Sep '06
    Moves
    9651
    23 Jul '11 02:43
    Originally posted by Agerg
    Hypothetical question...

    Suppose I believed X was false when it was infact true, and suppose further that

    Telling a person correctly that X was true would save a thousand lives (and cost none) whilst
    Telling a person incorrectly that X was false would cost a thousand lives (and save none)

    Should I convey true or false information about X?
    Hypothetical question...

    Can you imagine a world where lying didn't exist? No one would be in danger of telling a lie that would cost anyone their life.

    But because just one person believed a lie, everyone who ever lived died.

    Who's going to believe that?
  13. Standard memberCalJust
    It is what it is
    Pretoria
    Joined
    20 Apr '04
    Moves
    34112
    23 Jul '11 09:46
    Originally posted by LemonJello
    Hi bbarr. Where have you been?
    Yeah, I noticed that too!

    Some years ago (2004 - 2006, I believe) I was quite active on the BB - not much else to do at that time! - and I recall that bbarr regularly made impressive and insightful contributions, some of which I still remember!.

    So, hi, bbarr!
Back to Top