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Gabe Ozoani

Engineer, Aerospace Engineering

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What is cheating.....really?

In the wake of Lance Armstrong's "confession", most are calling him a cheat. A majority of the most famous and wealthy people have cut corners to get to where they are. If you get a job because you know the hiring manager over a more qualified candidate, have you cheated? If you sleep with a director to get the role...have you cheated? Yes, there are well spelled out rules in sports (among other professions) but what about other areas in life where our morality defines the rules?

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    Jan 20 2013: It depends on who is judging your actions. If it's yourself, then it depends on your own moral rules. If you think you are not cheating, then you are not.
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      Jan 23 2013: For example: A person secretly exchanges lottery tickets with an unwitting co-worker. The stolen ticket wins! The cheater was caught making the exchange on 5 separate surveillance cameras and witnessed by numerous onlookers who unanimously swear under oath what and who they saw. The original owner of the ticket had marked it with tiny identifying letters and took a high-resolution digital picture. All these precautions were observed and verified by expert witnesses. The original owners fingerprints and DNA were all over the winning ticket. In court the defense pleaded that the cheater "did not think it was cheating" to exchange the tickets. The judge immediately dismissed the charges and the thief retired to Montego Bay and lived happily ever after.
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        Jan 23 2013: I don't quite understand your point. What I said is that if the cheater thought he was not cheating, then that's true for HIM, but it might not be the case for the others, as it turned out. Of course, we have to abide by the law, but we are also entitled to judge our actions with our own moral code. That's why I said it depends on who is judging a particular action.
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          Jan 23 2013: In a social context, which is where we all live, actions have consequences. I cannot alter the social consequences for my actions by simply announcing that I don't think my actions were what society says they were. Cheating is not subjective. There are not 7-billion definitions of cheating, there is only one per society. I think the OP is asking what that definition is for the Western world. Each personal act can be subjected to investigation as to whether it is cheating or not. That investigation is not arbitrary, it is not subjective. Do we disagree?
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        Jan 23 2013: Yes, I think we disagree in part. Granted, cheating should not be subjective when it comes to enforcing the law, even though different judges sometimes give different sentences in comparable cases.

        However, everyone is entitled to their opinion and the law shouldn't shape our moral code, rather the other way around, in my view.

        There is no denying that we have to respect and obey the law, however, we also have the right to disagree with it. So that's why I think "cheating" is subjective, except when the law is applied.
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          Jan 23 2013: I cannot comment on the scenario where Law does not apply other than to say it sounds like anything goes, there is no right and wrong. Isn't the question moot at that point? If there are no rules there is no cheating because cheating is the breaking of rules.
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        Jan 23 2013: I did not say that there are no rules. Actually, every country/community/family/person has their own different rules.

        The point is every person has their own views, regardless of the law. In fact, I cannot think of an individual who agrees with every single law in the country.

        I personally am not going to change my moral code just because the law says so, which is not to say that I won't conform to the law, though. But that's just my view, anyway.
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          Jan 23 2013: Well said sir. You point out that lawbreaking is not the same as cheating depending upon the definition of cheating embraced by the accused. In my example of the lottery ticket the thief can claim innocence on the charge of cheating because he/she does not believe it was cheating. Personal moral codes cannot get us to the answer the OP asks about. Cheating has to be more narrowly defined than "whatever the individual believes cheating is." I say a dishonest act is cheating. You say it is strictly in the eye of the beholder. We disagree.

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