These past few weeks we have been focusing on looking at lying and the morals and ethics that go along with it from more of a psychology viewpoint. When psychologists study why people lie they use statistics and experiments and surveys to gather data. We have looked at multiple readings that are examples of these experiments. We’ve read Depaulo’s work where after a survey came to the conclusion that on average college students lie 2 times a day versus other community members who lied one. Everyone lies and cheats for different reasons and it is very interesting learning about how they justify it in their own way. This study also found that most tell more self-centered lies rather than lies to help others. But what was really interesting was that this was not the case when studying just women, women tend to tell more lies in the interest of others, not for there own self-interest. What I found most interesting to read was Ariely’s work where he applied SMORC. He had a series of experiments where he would test people’s willingness to cheat if their chance of getting caught was lower. He had the participants answer a certain amount of problems in a certain amount of time and then used those averages to then conduct one where he instructed after for them to shed their paper and come up and verbally express how many they completed. In this case, they found that on average they were completing 2 more than the data before indicated. Showing that if the likely hood was less of them getting caught then they were more likely to cheat. They also tested taxi drivers and their willingness to take the extra buck if given the chance. They had one blind woman and one woman who could see take cabs the same distance and told the cab driver to run the meter. Results came to indicate the blind women actually had to pay less than the other women. Which for me personally restored faith in humans. I really enjoy looking at why people do what they do through clear cut experiments like these.
- Can you consider yourself a truthful and honorable person if you tell white lies to save someone’s emotions?
- Do you believe in the statement “Once a cheater, always a cheater”?
- If someone tells you a story and leaves details out, is it lying?
I.e if your boyfriend sees his ex at the store but only describes his problems with the cashier and does not mention seeing his ex
- If someone cheats on a test, regardless by how many, would you consider them a bad person?
- If a blind person came to you at a farmers market and asked you for a pound of fruit, would you pick out the best looking fruit?
During the first few weeks of classes I have began to learn a new understanding for the concept of lying. Thinking about this topic in such a intellectual way is very interesting to me. We have already read some very interesting, yet hard to understand, works like Harris, Bok, and Nietzsche. Harris’ outlook on lying was interesting. He said there was never a time to lie. The lie that would protect someone’s feelings in the end would be a disservice to them and if you lie to a close friend that friendship’s foundation is corrupt. I think that lying can be bad, but it is not simple enough to draw the straight line of right and wrong when it comes to lying. In Bok’s writing, we discuss how the whole truth is unattainable. Which is an interesting thought. That you are the only one who knows your whole truth and by not giving every detaIl of such it is a way of deception which is a way of lying. I think about it in terms of personal matters, if I tell a story of my time at work and don’t mention details like my coworker was late, is that considered lying? It is an interesting way to look at lies and deception. Our most recent reading was the most interesting to me, an excerpt by Nietzsche. His outlook on the morals of lying and deception were more to the point. He basically talked about how mankind is stupid and we lie to find meaning in our existence. As humans we want meaning for our existence and we lie to fill the voids of the unknown. He spoke on how we don’t have a problem with it unless it affects us negatively. That was an interesting way to look at it. Meaning a lie that doesn’t hurt anyone isn’t doing anything bad? This class has already opened up many portals of questions I have about the philosophy of lying, I look forward to this semester.