TED Conversations

Jean-Charles Longuet

This conversation is closed.

Telling the truth: are there limits?

Two recent talks focused on "Truth" as something good/moral. Practically, however, some information may cause havoc: the Wikileaks diplomatic data disclosure, for example, coulad have put some people at risk.

How should we manage the decision to disclose (or not) such information? Or manage the moral dilemma when telling a lie may have a positive outcome?

[update 2012/11/25] The conversation initially mixed a few things : Truth is something that is not as obvious as it seems, and Lies are more related to a deceiving/manipulative intention that to the hiding of some Truth.

Anyway, all points of views are welcome.


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Nov 16 2012: Truth and lying are part of the same boat. Yin and yang if you will. You can't know one without the other. I believe that everything has limits, and nothing is absolute. Morals aside, sometimes we have to life, and sometimes we have to tell the truth. That's why you've never find a completely honest man.
    • thumb
      Nov 16 2012: Interesting point. Truth can indeed be very relative, as it is linked to our perception. Mitch (see below) pointed out that the space of existing facts is subject to distortion as soon as you try to communicate about it.

      So if we have an absolute "Objective Truth" and an individual-dependent "Perceived Truth", the lie can only be regarded as opposed to the "Perceived Truth". Lies occur only when someone do not tell his perception of truth. If his perception is so wrong that everybody else consider his lie as their own Truth, I guess the moral intend is still there and that its still a lie...

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.