mental reservation

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The internal act of adding a qualification to, or exploiting an ambiguity in one's words, or privately vowing that one does not mean what one is saying, like children keeping their fingers crossed in order to nullify a promise they are making. Some casuists argued, unconvincingly, that the private addition of such a reservation may make permissible what would otherwise seem to be a lie. Hume made the stout Scottish response that it might do when it came to questions of salvation, but it would not be allowed in affairs of business.

Subjects: Christianity — Philosophy.

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