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Jean-Charles Longuet

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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?
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[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.

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  • Nov 16 2012: Moral dilemma? I question the actions that lead to lying.. If we are speaking about morality then the answer is deeper than whether lying is okay or not. why do we lie? Let's say that we lie to protect our own interest. That means that any actions that we commit that are harmful to others are evil and wrong. Instead of focusing on lying focus on not doing the wrong thing, then again you have to question what is right and what is wrong. If something wrong is a law and I break that law, should I tell the truth or lie to avoid punishment? Which brings up the question how about selflessness. If we only lie in order to protect our own interest then being selfish is wrong....This doesn't help much though. Selflessness only prevents the negative reactions. It's only best to withhold information from the people if their intellectual capacity at that time is not high enough to deal with it. There will be consequences regardless but the COSTS will not be as severe. Giving sensitive information to those who aren't ready to deal with it will only bring forth high violence and great destruction.
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      Nov 18 2012: "Let's say that we lie to protect our own interest. That means that any actions that we commit that are harmful to others are evil and wrong."

      Would you lie if a murderer were chasing you and you believed that by lying, the murderer would be caught and jailed? That would be to protect your own self interests. Is that evil?

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