Lori's Reviews > Lying

Lying by Sam Harris
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's review
Apr 15, 2012

it was ok
bookshelves: philosophy
Read in March, 2012

A small philosophical/popular psychology essay, which contains nothing earth-shattering, just common sense about leading a less complicated interpersonal life by not withholding or disguising relevant information from others with a legitimate interest. I would have appreciated it a great deal more if Harris had spent less time examining the pitfalls of various white lies, and more on the less common but more serious quandaries in which lying does seem the dangerous but ethical choice. Harris offers one provocative example he claims one of his professors persuaded him of - the choice not to lie to Nazi soldiers when asked if Anne Frank is in the house - but then abandons the premise, not even attempting to explain a scenario in which telling this truth could possibly be ethically superior to deception. In the absence of any such line of reasoning to judge by, I'll continue to maintain that resistance-inclined folk who lie to protect the innocent are more on the side of the angels than more assiduously truthful folk.

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