The Partial Overlap/Convergence of Reasonable Views

Thomas L. Carson

in Lying and Deception

Published in print April 2010 | ISBN: 9780199577415
Published online September 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191722813 | DOI:
The Partial Overlap/Convergence of Reasonable Views

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The rationality and consistency tests defended in Chapter 6 can be used to discredit and rule out certain moral principles and moral judgments and, thus, indirectly establish the truth of certain other moral judgments and moral principles. This chapter argues that there is a large overlap or convergence in the moral judgments about lying and deception of people whose judgments satisfy rationality/consistency requirements. The moral principles and moral judgments about lying and deception that survive rationality and consistency tests support a moral presumption against harmful lying and deception that is at least as strong as that endorsed by (welfare maximizing versions of) act-utilitarianism. Moral principles and moral judgments that claim or imply that lying or deception is permissible in cases in which it harms others and the harm it causes outweighs the benefits it produces fail rationality/consistency tests. In addition, the view that lying and/or deception are always wrong no matter what does not survive consistency and rationality tests.

Keywords: presumption against lying; presumption against deception; absolutism; consistency; act-utilitarianism; rule-consequentialism; Kant; Ross; reflective equilibrium; moral truth

Chapter.  3749 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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