Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Lying and DeceptionTheory and Practice$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Thomas L. Carson

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199577415

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199577415.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 13 December 2019

Act‐Utilitarianism

Act‐Utilitarianism

Chapter:
(p.89) 4 Act‐Utilitarianism
Source:
Lying and Deception
Author(s):

Thomas L. Carson (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199577415.003.0005

Act‐utilitarianism implies that lying is morally permissible when, and only when, there is no alternative course of action open to one that has better consequences than lying. Many critics contend that utilitarianism is too permissive about the morality of lying. Mill attempts to answer this objection in Utilitarianism where he claims that lying always has indirect bad consequences (lying makes one less honest and undermines trust between people). Mill claims that, therefore, utilitarianism implies that there is a strong moral presumption against lying. The chapter defends Mill's argument and note two ways in which it can be extended and strengthened. First, there is another indirect bad consequence of lying that Mill does not mention – the difficulties that liars incur in trying to “keep their stories straight.” Second, in addition to the indirect bad consequences of lying (and deception), there are also direct bad consequences. We are (generally) harmed when we are deceived because we cannot effectively pursue our ends and interests if we act on the basis of false beliefs.

Keywords:   act‐utilitarianism on lying, act‐utilitarianism on deception, Mill on lying, indirect consequences of lying, harmfulness of lying, harmfulness of deception, criterion of rightness, action‐guide, secondary moral principles

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .