Theory and Practise
Thomas Carson offers the most comprehensive and up-to-date investigation
of moral and conceptual questions about lying and deception. Part I
addresses conceptual questions and offers definitions of lying,
deception, and related concepts such as withholding information,
"keeping someone in the dark," and "half truths." Part II deals with
questions in ethical theory. Carson argues that standard debates about
lying and deception between act-utilitarians and their critics are
inconclusive because they rest on appeals to disputed moral intuitions.
He defends a version of the golden rule and a theory of moral reasoning.
His theory implies that there is
a moral presumption against lying and deception that causes harm — a
presumption at least as strong as that endorsed by act-utilitarianism.
He uses this theory to justify his claims about the issues he addresses
in Part III: deception and withholding information in sales, deception
in advertising, bluffing in negotiations, the duties of professionals to
inform clients, lying and deception by leaders as a pretext for
fighting wars (with special attention to the case of Bush and Cheney),
and lying and deception about history (with special attention to the
Holocaust), and cases of distorting the historical record by telling
half-truths. The book concludes with a qualified defence of the view
that honesty is a virtue.Readership:
Scholars and advanced students of philosophy, as well as
historians and students of history (especially American history and the
history of the Holocaust).