Maria-Sibylla Lotter: »On the Mischief of Lying«
Lying in the sense of declaring as true what you believe to be false takes a special position within ethical discourse concerning truthfulness and the virtues and vices of communication. None of the many other ways in which people lack truthfulness is considered nearly as vicious as lying. However, in everyday life our attitude towards lying is far from consistent insofar as we tend to take both an absolutist and a relativist position towards lying. The article shows that our inconsistency derives from several philosophical traditions which have developed widely different concepts and moral attitudes with regard to lying. And with respect to the challenges of present life it is argued that instead of bending all our thoughts on lying, we should rather follow Michel Foucault and Bernard Williams in distinguishing the virtues of veracity we should cultivate in the different areas of modern life.
Jörg Meibauer: »Are Concepts of Lying Culture-Dependent?«
We can distinguish a minimalist and a maximalist concept of lying. Whilst the former assumes that lying is the same communicative act for all human beings but can be used in a different way according to social and cultural contexts, the latter holds that there are as many different concepts of lying as there are different social and cultural configurations in which lies are used. In particular, some researchers claim that Asian (collectivist) cultures possess different concepts of lying than Western (individualist) cultures. When carefully looking at pertinent studies, it appears that the concept of lying as constituting a violation of the first submaxim of Quality according to Grice is a good candidate for a minimalist (universal) concept of lying.
Richard Raatzsch: »Untruthfulness, Ideology, and Philanthropy«
According to Raymond Geuss, the focus on politician untruthfulness distracts our attention from the political questions that really matter. This tendency is, for Geuss, a sign of our time showing the »persistence of bog-Christian attitudes«. Ancient Greek society, Geuss argues, had a different view on mendacious behavior and political untruthfulness. In this paper, I give a comparative approach to Greek and Christian politics of mendaciousness via the notion of ideology – vindicating to some extend the present-day focus on political untruthfulness.
Theda Rehbock: »Lying for Love? - Problems of Paternalistic Lying in Public Health Issues«
The article starts from the observation that lying or rather the absence of truth- ful communication is still a common practice within modern medicine, and that medical ethics lacks moral arguments sufficient to serve as an efficient therapy of this illness. With regard to the problem of paternalistic justifications of emergency lies, I defend the classical definition and position regarding lying of Augustine and Kant, along with an uncommon interpretation of it. Thus, their aim is not to inhumanely condemn every single merciful lie but to make clear that every attempt to justify lies based on beneficence or »Menschenliebe« (Kant) has to be rejected, because it gives rise to a general praxis of untruthful behaviour. In order avoid this consequence, one must be aware of what makes lying as such morally wrong. This has to be clarified by referring to the ethical-existential Sinnhorizont of truth and truthfulness within the entire context of personal human existence.
Daniel Strassberg: »Who’s fooling Who? - On the Logic of Self-Deception«
The insight that human beings are prone to deceive themselves is part of our everyday knowledge of human nature. Even so, if deceiving someone means to deliberately misrepresent something to him, it is difficult to understand how it is possible to deceive yourself. This paper tries to address this difficulty by means of a narrative approach. Self-deception is conceived as a change of the narrative context by means of which the same fact appears in a different light. On these grounds, depending on whether the self-deceiver adopts an ironic attitude to his self-deception or not, it is also possible to distinguish between a morally inexcusable self-deception and a morally indifferent one.