Philosophical discussions embrace the usage according to which a lie is the deliberate utterance of a falsehood, with the intent to deceive or mislead an audience. Saying something false inadvertently, or saying something false knowing that the audience will misunderstand it and interpret it as something which is in fact true, or merely uttering false pleasantries when no question of deception arises, are not therefore cases of lying. The prohibition on lying in any circumstance (even when the mad axeman asks where your children are sleeping) is a notorious part of Kant's ethics. On the other hand, consequentialist and utilitarian theories are frequently charged with failing to explain the peculiar gravity of lying, since some lies have few, if any, bad consequences.

Philosophy dictionary. . 2011.


Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Lying — Lie Lie, v. i. [imp. {Lay} (l[=a]); p. p. {Lain} (l[=a]n), ({Lien} (l[imac] [e^]n), Obs.); p. pr. & vb. n. {Lying}.] [OE. lien, liggen, AS. licgan; akin to D. liggen, OHG. ligen, licken, G. liegen, Icel. liggja, Sw. ligga, Dan. ligge, Goth. ligan …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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