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Tabor Williams

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If you tell a lie and it becomes the truth, does it matter that you once lied?

In the way that some people questions whether or not the ends justify the means, I'm wondering if you tell a lie and it becomes the truth, does it matter that you once lied?


Closing Statement from Tabor Williams

Thanks for all the participation and discussion everyone!

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    Nov 18 2012: [As I can't respond to Mark Meijer, I'm posting this up here]

    I am indeed looking for justifications for lying, because I'm a writer. I'm interested in what makes people tick, and what makes people act the way they act. I've been trying to play devil's advocate, because I truly am interested in people's thoughts on honesty, and lying.

    Honesty about someone's shirt is not pathetic. You're looking at in the wrong way. Absolute truth means being truthful in all instances. It doesn't pit one truth against another on a scale. In the same way that some people believe that all sins are equal. Do I personally believe that? No. But I'd like to understand why people hold the views that they do.

    Thanks for contributing! :)
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      Nov 18 2012: I love Mark's comments. Razor-sharp opinions, clearly stated.

      Re: "Honesty about someone's shirt is not pathetic." There is no such thing as honesty or lying about our attitudes, tastes, preferences, and emotions. They change on a whim. I can make them true or false simply by moving a few mimic muscles.

      I know a person who always answers the question "How are you doing?" - "The best day of my life!" When I asked him why he always says so, he explained that he used to be grumpy, and this is his way to be happier. And, you know what? This answer made me happier too. Is it a lie?

      Some 10 years ago, my wife and I went for a walk downtown. She wore an outfit that didn't seem to me very appropriate. I told her that I'm not very comfortable with it, but not more than that. She still wore it. To my surprise, several random people came up to us in the street to compliment her on her dress - in a good way. Some compliments came from women. Since then I trust her taste more than my own. Honesty about someone's shirt IS pathetic and is not worth much.
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        Nov 18 2012: I wasn't making the comparison that you can pit sins against one another on a scale. I was actually saying the OPPOSITE that sins can't be compared.

        If you're taking the approach that truth comes from words, obviously an opinion on someone's shirt is irrelevant.
    • Nov 18 2012: What is your take on Kant's categorical imperative about telling the truth? For example if I am harboring a Jewish fugitive and the Gestapo asks if you are hiding someone, do you tell the truth i.e. that yes you are harboring someone or do you lie? From Kant's perspective this is no idle question.

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