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Published: 2021-06-18 06:46:24
essay essay

Category: Emotions, Ethics, Information, Thinking, Truth, Lie, Bad Faith, Lying

Type of paper: Essay

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1 a). In the context, Frankfurt writes“Liars must believe they know the truth first, however, bullshitters don’t need to know the truth.” What then, do you believe to be a fundamental difference between lying and bullshitting?
Answer: Liars must know the truth and they consciously fabricate a lie. Their intention is to oppose the truth. However, bullshitters don’t have a strong stand for or against the truth. Their intention is to get away simply with exaggeration and extrapolation. A person talking bullshit is unconcerned with the truth and is loose with her/his words. There are laxity and aloofness towards the truth of the matter. For example, when we say we are so tired that we feel dead. We aren’t lying about being tired per se, but we do not know what it feels like to be dead. So the looseness and callousness of our words constitutes bullshitting. There is more fakery involved in bullshit than there is falsity. Additionally, getting away with bullshit is easier since we do not take it as a personal affront. We are more willing to let it pass than a grave lie.
2a). There seems to be an argument for a “holy trinity” of the truth: the facts, the truth itself, and reality. How do these three concepts work off one another? Which of these three concepts is the most malleable and why?
Answer: There is a difference between the facts, the reality and the truth. Facts are statements that have been proven and verified to be true. The reality constitutes things as they are or have been in the past as opposed to how we may think they are or had been. The truth, however, is subjective. Everyone has their version of the truth. To quote T.S.Eliot, “All significant truths are private truths”. We all have our versions of the truth. There is no one, absolute truth since there is no one absolute view of the world. Our emotions, perspectives and situations mold our truths. Once a “truth” has been verified beyond a reasonable doubt, it becomes a fact. There are as many truths as there are opinions and point of views. Hence, truth is the most malleable of the three. As people and their situations change, so does their truth.
3b). Nyberg gives a rather lengthy description of lying: “Lying means making a statement (not too vague) you want somebody to believe, even though you don’t (completely) believe it yourself, when the other person has the right to expect you mean what you say.” What is the relationship between this statement and bullshit?
Answer: Lying is the act of deceiving another person. For this to happen, the liar must know the facts of the matter and knowingly fabricate a statement opposing the facts. Lying is conscious distortion of the facts. In bullshitting, there isn’t any set belief that the other person expects you to mean what you say. Additionally, the perpetrator of bullshit does not care about the facts at all. She/he may or may not even know the facts. A lie isn’t an extremely vague statement, whereas bullshit is vague and exaggerated. The motive behind bullshit is pretentiousness and extrapolation. Lying requires more discipline and logic to concoct statements that are contradictory to the truth. Bullshit doesn’t require any logic or foundation. It need not make sense or an expectation that the other person will believe what you say.
4b). What kind of relationship is there between principled truth telling and lying, if any? What are some problematic issues with telling the truth?
Answer: Principled truth telling is telling the truth in ethical situations. For example, a doctor is morally obligated to tell the entire truth about a patient’s diagnosis and prognosis to him/her. However, such divulgence of information may have a negative effect on the patients’ health. Even in the case of attorney client privilege, the lawyer has to hold the client’s information in confidence. This means that even if he has information that could prove his client’s guilt, it is his duty to not divulge this information as a lawyer. In such cases and many more, it becomes difficult to decide between telling the truth and lying. Sometimes lying may be a better choice, morally and ethically. White lies when there may not be any dire consequences or justifiable lies for the greater good are commonplace. Telling the truth has its problems. For example, one may end up hurting others’ feelings. The consequences of telling the truth must be taken into consideration. In order to protect someone from harm’s way, truth telling should not be the main concern.
5b). Being a social scientist that he is, Ekman believes“A lie catcher should never rely upon one clue to deceit; there must be many.” What does this imply about lie detectors? Is lie detection really possible then?
Answer: Paul Ekman believes that there are many clues that a person may be lying. Some of these are words, tone of voice, pauses, postures, body language, head movements, etc. Anyone attempting to catch a liar’s deception, therefore, cannot rely on just one clue. A lot of attention is given to what a person is saying, that is, to words as a possible clue to deceit. However, words are the easiest to alter and most in the perpetrator’s control. For example, an angry word is much harder to explain than saying it in an angry tone of voice. Also, emotions of anger, fear or sadness may not necessarily mean that a person is lying or withholding information. It could simply mean the person is nervous or angry about being questioned. Keeping all this in mind, lie detection is never a hundred percent reliable.
6a) Smiling is a natural reaction: when people are happy, they smile. And smiles are one of the easiest facial expressions to recognize. For this reason, I want you to discuss two things:
1. As a deceiver, how can you use the smile to your advantage when lying? Choose a few (more than two) of the types of lies that would work best.
2. As a lie detector, what does the smile tell you about the deceiver? Choose four-types and briefly describe how they can be interpreted in the art of lie detection?
Answer: Smiling is one of the most frequently used facial expressions. It is also seen from a greater distance than any other expression. Smiles are associated with positive feelings of joy and contentment. This is the reason liars may use smiles to fool other people. However, Pail Ekman, who has studied smiles believes that a heartfelt smile involve the muscles around the eyes, are symmetrical more often than not, are well timed and are seen in the whole face as opposed to just the lower part. Hence as a liar, faking a genuine smile would need eye muscles and upper face muscles to be involved. Fake smiles will work best if the liar is trying to lead a person to let their guard down and establish trust. This could also work with if the liar wants another person to believe that he/she is well like by the liar.
7b). Think about someone in a position of power. To what extent do ethics plays in deception or truth telling when protecting society? Discuss what you fell are the appropriate ethical positions (as outlined by Simons and Larson) that would correspond with this question.
Answer: With great power comes greater responsibility. People in power positions, such that have a huge impact on the society, are given the responsibility of making ethical decisions in the good of common people. For example, the leader of a country may have evidence to believe that the country maybe at threat by disturbing agents. However, if such information were to be distributed to the public without being confirmed, there could be confusion. Hence, a leader must make tough moral choices in order to protect the society. At the same time, the leader must also make necessary arrangements in order to investigate and thwart the threat. Simons and Larson’s utilitarianism comes into play here. Questionable ethical means maybe used when the goals are extremely worthy.

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