By J. A. Barnes
Defining lies as statements which are meant to lie to, this booklet considers the contexts during which humans inform lies and explores the results. the writer appears to be like at societies with precise non secular and moral traditions the place mendacity is the norm. He additionally indicates how kids gather the capability to lie at an early age, and examine whilst it really is applicable to take action. In end, Professor Barnes argues that folks tend to inform the reality, for except the query of morality, there are pragmatic purposes for doing so.
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Additional resources for A Pack of Lies: Towards a Sociology of Lying
When a country comes under enemy occupation, the obligation to lie selectively is extended from the government to all loyal citizens. In relations with the enemy, the citizen is expected to follow an inverted moral code, despite the perils of doing so. The duality manifest in the actions of government, offering truth to its citizens and lies to its enemies, provides a key to understanding why 25 Where lies are expected attempts at deception are sometimes successful and sometimes fail. As mentioned earlier, in a situation where most participants are honest, a few individuals can become free riders; the assumption of good faith generated by the actions of the majority ensures the success of the deceit practised by the minority.
In a conflict between nations, particularly if this includes war, many politicians and members of the armed forces are likely to engage in deceit, but it is spies who do so most comprehensively. Spies, to earn their keep, are expected to deceive and to lie whenever necessary. Here we encounter a sharp contrast between the perspective of the liar and that of the dupe. Those who spy on us are popularly regarded as morally despicable; they deserve harsh penalties when discovered. Those who spy for us are silent heroes whose achievements we regret we cannot honour openly.
She asks: No one will ever explain to me ... why horse-coping is more respectable than cheating at cards. I rather respect people who are able to cheat at cards; if every one did, it would make whist so much more cheerful; but there is no forgiveness for dealing yourself the right card, and there is no condemnation for dealing your neighbour a very wrong horse! With a horse sale, and not only in Ireland, lies are expected; they are not thought to be reprehensible, whereas cheating at cards is. Miss Shute played whist, not poker, but even in poker misdealing the cards is condemned even though bluffing an opponent is applauded.
A Pack of Lies: Towards a Sociology of Lying by J. A. Barnes