Is this person a "liar"?

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Razblo
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Re: Is this person a "liar"?

Post by Razblo » October 8th, 2017, 8:05 am

Atreyu wrote:
Razblo wrote: And "evasion" is not lying, and the apparently "evasive" smoking person A may have merely been publicly expressing their hope that they would quit. If so this is not lying. It is merely an internal and personal struggle.
If a person says he will do something tomorrow, and does not do it, then he lied. A lie is a lie whether or not it was conscious or unconscious, intentional or unintentional.

And unconscious or unintentional lying is much worse than intentionally and consciously lying. If a man is going to lie, he should be fully aware he's lying, and he should know why he's lying. Intentionally lying to achieve an aim is preferable to habitually lying out of habit.
It maybe that he failed. Failing isn't automatically lying. This thing, where people say, as if in some absolute sense, that this or that is the case, is silly.

He may have lied or he may not have lied. The report in the OP is an insufficient one for determining some absolute fact, as you seem to have done.

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Ulrich
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Re: Is this person a "liar"?

Post by Ulrich » October 8th, 2017, 10:11 am

Razblo wrote:
Atreyu wrote: (Nested quote removed.)


If a person says he will do something tomorrow, and does not do it, then he lied. A lie is a lie whether or not it was conscious or unconscious, intentional or unintentional.

And unconscious or unintentional lying is much worse than intentionally and consciously lying. If a man is going to lie, he should be fully aware he's lying, and he should know why he's lying. Intentionally lying to achieve an aim is preferable to habitually lying out of habit.
It maybe that he failed. Failing isn't automatically lying. This thing, where people say, as if in some absolute sense, that this or that is the case, is silly.

He may have lied or he may not have lied. The report in the OP is an insufficient one for determining some absolute fact, as you seem to have done.
I would not say he is lying beause he has failed to keep his promise. The promise and the failure of A are not a lie and thus not problematic. Both are not a lie in any sense of the word. However, A is, in my opinion, lying because after he picked up smoking again he conceales this failure from B. I would argue that A is obliged to inform B because of his past promise to B. By not doing so, A becomes a liar.

The ethical problem is not about what A does, rather on what he does not do. Is there a lie by omission, if so, under what conditions and does the case of A satisfy those conditions? Or to be more precise: Is A (morally) obliged to inform B about his relapse because the told him that he would quit smoking?

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LuckyR
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Re: Is this person a "liar"?

Post by LuckyR » October 9th, 2017, 4:23 am

Ulrich wrote:
Razblo wrote: (Nested quote removed.)

It maybe that he failed. Failing isn't automatically lying. This thing, where people say, as if in some absolute sense, that this or that is the case, is silly.

He may have lied or he may not have lied. The report in the OP is an insufficient one for determining some absolute fact, as you seem to have done.
I would not say he is lying beause he has failed to keep his promise. The promise and the failure of A are not a lie and thus not problematic. Both are not a lie in any sense of the word. However, A is, in my opinion, lying because after he picked up smoking again he conceales this failure from B. I would argue that A is obliged to inform B because of his past promise to B. By not doing so, A becomes a liar.

The ethical problem is not about what A does, rather on what he does not do. Is there a lie by omission, if so, under what conditions and does the case of A satisfy those conditions? Or to be more precise: Is A (morally) obliged to inform B about his relapse because the told him that he would quit smoking?
A is deceiving B by hiding his smoking. You are correct that he is not obligated to tell B he has taken up smoking, thus the lack of such a conversation does not make A a liar. However by intentionally hiding his smoking, deception is being committed, thus a lie by omission is the intent and thus the label of liar.
"As usual... it depends."

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Ulrich
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Re: Is this person a "liar"?

Post by Ulrich » October 9th, 2017, 3:36 pm

:) Since we both agree on this point: What are in your opinion the general criteria for a lie by omission? We know that there has to be an obligation not only to say the truth, but also to inform the adressee. But what constitutes such an obligation? What is the definable normative criteria that obligates us to inform the other about certain in order to avoid becomming a liar?

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Re: Is this person a "liar"?

Post by LuckyR » October 10th, 2017, 12:11 pm

Ulrich wrote::) Since we both agree on this point: What are in your opinion the general criteria for a lie by omission? We know that there has to be an obligation not only to say the truth, but also to inform the adressee. But what constitutes such an obligation? What is the definable normative criteria that obligates us to inform the other about certain in order to avoid becomming a liar?
I approach this issue from a different perspective, namely is there the intention to deceive. If there is the intention to deceive and there is an obligation to tell the truth, that is a classic case of lying that we all think of, say the textbook definition. OTOH, what if someone intends to deceive another, who DOESN'T have an obligation to receive the truth? Well, that is still a lie (because of the intention to deceive), but it is not a negative thing (because of the lack of an obligation to tell the truth), what we used to call a "white lie". But still a lie.

If someone tell an untruth without the intention to deceive, that could either be a mistake, or perhaps sarcasm, where everyone knows the information is inaccurate.
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Re: Is this person a "liar"?

Post by Atreyu » October 10th, 2017, 2:44 pm

"Intending to deceive" and a "lie" are two different things. I'm approaching it from the POV of what's actually "technically" correct. If a man says something that is not true, then he lied. Pure and simple.

It doesn't necessarily mean he meant to lie, or that he wanted to lie, or that he was trying to deceive himself or others. But it does mean that he lied.

This brings up a very important topic. To speak the truth a man first has to know what the truth is.

And when a man thinks (or acts like) he knows something he really does not know, the inevitable result will be lying.

The man lied because he had a false view of himself. He really believed he could quit smoking, but he couldn't. So he lied. If he was honest, he would have said "I am going to try and not smoke anymore" or "I am confident that I won't smoke anymore" or "I really believe I won't smoke anymore". Once he acts as if he knows, speaking with unwarranted confidence and sureness, he sets himself up to lie.

But he's not a "liar". A "liar", to me, is specifically someone who regularly and intentionally lies for personal gain. A person who wishes to speak the truth, but cannot, like the man in our example who wants to quit smoking, and believes he can do it (falsely), is merely a "fool", a "wannabe"...

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Re: Is this person a "liar"?

Post by LuckyR » October 11th, 2017, 12:00 am

Atreyu wrote:"Intending to deceive" and a "lie" are two different things. I'm approaching it from the POV of what's actually "technically" correct. If a man says something that is not true, then he lied. Pure and simple.

It doesn't necessarily mean he meant to lie, or that he wanted to lie, or that he was trying to deceive himself or others. But it does mean that he lied.

This brings up a very important topic. To speak the truth a man first has to know what the truth is.

And when a man thinks (or acts like) he knows something he really does not know, the inevitable result will be lying.

The man lied because he had a false view of himself. He really believed he could quit smoking, but he couldn't. So he lied. If he was honest, he would have said "I am going to try and not smoke anymore" or "I am confident that I won't smoke anymore" or "I really believe I won't smoke anymore". Once he acts as if he knows, speaking with unwarranted confidence and sureness, he sets himself up to lie.

But he's not a "liar". A "liar", to me, is specifically someone who regularly and intentionally lies for personal gain. A person who wishes to speak the truth, but cannot, like the man in our example who wants to quit smoking, and believes he can do it (falsely), is merely a "fool", a "wannabe"...
So do you see a difference between a mistake (someone believes something to be true, perhaps he was told it was true, passes along what he thought was true, but he himself was lied to and his information is untrue) and someone who in fact knows the truth and decides to tell an untruth? Both lies in your eyes?

In fact, one could imagine a scenario where a habitual liar mistakenly tells the truth (since he was misinformed of what the truth really is) by accident when he intended to tell a lie. That dude is IMO telling a lie, even when he told the truth since it was his intention to deceive.
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Re: Is this person a "liar"?

Post by Alias » October 11th, 2017, 12:05 am

Razblo wrote: We know when a lie is told except in politics? I don't get that at all. We certainly can know when politicians lie.
Then why do you keep electing obvious and habitual liars to administer your formidable store of lethal weapons and public works?
Anyway, i didn't say you know when a lie is being told; I said you know the difference truth-telling and lying - whatever face-saving label you put on the latter.
And "evasion" is not lying,
No: deliberate deception is.
and the apparently "evasive" smoking person A may have merely been publicly expressing their hope that they would quit.
"I will" is different from "I'll try" is different from "I have."
I know all about this, having gone through every phase of it several times, before I actually did. There was much good intention involved, as well as much self-deception and overt lying.
Those who can induce you to believe absurdities can induce you to commit atrocities. - Voltaire

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