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Lying and Autonomy

Wall (60) maintains the moral principles of "beneficence, justice, and autonomy" are often employed to judge the right or wrong of an act. Beneficence means treating others in ways that promote their welfare. Those who argue that lying is okay in some situations, like to protect the feelings of someone, would argue that is promoting their welfare. However, being untruthful is hurtful and harmful. People most always detect a lie sooner or later, and when they do they are hurt and lose trust and faith in the liar, whether it is a friend, politician, or roommate. As Paul Johnson (in Taddonio 1) notes, "I think the recent rash of people getting caught lying is's our nature to avoid the truth in order to get what we want and avoid the consequences of our actions." Both co-learners I interviewed on the topic of lying are strongly opposed to it under any circumstances, with one maintaining it does the opposite of promoting the welfare of another: "I do not believe it is ever okay to lie. Even if you think that you are trying to help someone out, you are giving them false hopes. They will be totally devastated when or if they ever found out the truth." Therefore, lying always undermines or violates the principle of beneficence.

Justice refers to acting in a way that promotes the just distribution of social goods, based on the notion that all human beings should have the same moral and legal rights. Those in favor of lying


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Lying and Autonomy. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 21:51, October 25, 2014, from
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