Thursday, July 22, 2010

Thomas L. Carson's "Lying and Deception"

Thomas L. Carson is Professor of Philosophy at Loyola University Chicago. He is the author of Value and the Good Life, The Status of Morality, and the newly released Lying and Deception, and is the co-editor of Morality and the Good Life and Moral Relativism.

He applied the “Page 99 Test” to Lying and Deception and reported the following:
Page 99 includes the conclusion to Chapter 4 and some of the endnotes for this chapter. Here is the conclusion to Chapter 4 (which includes a few lines from p. 98):
Conclusion and Transition to Chapter 5

Act-utilitarianism supports the view that there is a strong moral presumption against lying and deception. It also seems more reasonable than Kant’s absolutism, to the extent that it permits people to lie to save someone’s life. However, even if we grant all of Mill’s arguments and the additional arguments I have proposed in this chapter, there remains a serious objection to the act-utilitarian view about the morality of lying. Act-utilitarianism views lying as morally neutral or indifferent, other things equal (apart from its consequences). Speaking with reference to moral rules such as the rule against killing, Frankena writes: “Even though I think that no such rules are absolute... I do still believe... that some kinds of actions are intrinsically wrong, for example, killing people and lying to them.” Ross give the classic statement of this argument. Ross's theory is an important alternative to both act-utilitarianism and Kant's absolutism; it is arguably closer to our commonsense moral beliefs than either act-utilitarianism or Kant’s absolutism.
Is this representative of the book as whole? This is a summary of one of 14 chapters. This chapter is one of five chapters that address questions in ethical theory. The book also includes 2 chapters that deal with conceptual questions issues and give definitions of lying, deception, and related concepts and 5 chapters that address with actual cases of lying and deception and questions of professional ethics.
See Thomas L. Carson's Loyola University webpage for more information about him and to see a list of some of his favorite books.

Learn more about Lying and Deception at the Oxford University Press website.

--Marshal Zeringue