Lying, Consequentialism, and Virtue Ethics.docx - Kathleen...

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Kathleen Tonne Ethics and Society Julien Farland May 14 th , 2020 Lying, Consequentialism, and Virtue Ethics In her book: Lying, Moral Choice in Public and Private Life, Sissela Bok discusses and analyzes various forms of lying that take place in society, forcing the reader to grow a better understanding on lying and just how morally right or wrong it is. Bok presents different scenarios where lying may take place as well as numerous methods such as paternalistic lies and white lies. The Fundamentals of Ethics written by Shafer-Landau similarly discusses morality, focusing on topics such as utilitarianism and virtue ethics. Both authors explore multiple perspectives and allow readers to gain better insight on the topics as well as form their own opinions regarding moral choice. Throughout this paper I will discuss several points made in these books as well as share my personal insight on the topics of lying, consequentialism, and virtue ethics. A paternalistic lie is a lie that is performed by someone who believes that the person being lied to will benefit from the lie being told. An example of a paternalistic lie would be an adult, particularly a parent, lying to their child about how a family member may have died if the cause of death was a topic that a child may not fully understand yet (drug use, suicide, etc.) A person may use a paternalistic lie in order to prevent harming someone, yet for some people any form of lying is considered to be harmful. Depending on an individual’s view on lying, one may believe that regardless of age or the relationship they have with a person, lying is never appropriate. While reflecting on my own childhood and any paternalistic lies I may have told in the past, I find that there is a time and a place for this form of lying. Depending on the severity of a situation, I consider it to be acceptable to not fully tell the truth to a child if it may affect their mental health or disturb them in any way. With that being said, I do not find it
necessary to create an entirely different story to tell a child, but rather leave certain details out and perhaps consider a time and age where it will be more appropriate to communicate the truth to their child. Another scenario where a paternalistic lie may take place is between a doctor and his/her patient. Many doctors do not find it necessary to inform a patient on just how dangerous or deadly an illness is due to the belief that it will not benefit the patient by knowing. I personally have been in a setting where a doctor would not give me the answers that I was looking for even though I had the right as a patient to understand the illness that I was diagnosed with. When looking at paternalistic lies from this point of

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