The Instigator
SurvivorManMatt
Con (against)
Winning
12 Points
The Contender
Mulan
Pro (for)
Losing
1 Points

Is it okay, "good" even, to lie to a friend in order to spare his or her feelings?

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
SurvivorManMatt
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/15/2016 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 428 times Debate No: 86635
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
Votes (3)

 

SurvivorManMatt

Con

Moral law dictates that lying to a friend in order to spare their feelings is not permissible. According to Immanuel Kant and deontology, lying in any instance is immoral and therefore not allowed. Jeremy Bentham and utilitarianism, a part of consequentialism, state that people will always attempt to maximize pleasure and minimize pain and in some instances make lying okay. Lying is immoral in the instance of attempting to keep a friend from feeling pain by telling them the truth, i.e. if they ask how they look in an outfit before they go on a date with a potential partner. Lying however, is never permissible and the truth should always be the forefront of any answer given to a friend.
There are several laws in deontology that must be followed if one is to act as a moral agent in the world. One of these laws is that each person must act as though they were the moral authority in every instance of their interaction with the world. i.e. they must always act in a manner that would be deemed a good moral and ethical act. The second law is that one must ask themselves if it would be okay for everyone else in the world to commit that act all the time. i.e. if they were trying to decide the morality of the act of stealing, they must ponder a world in which everyone everywhere on earth steals constantly. The third law is that each person must act out of a sense of duty, regardless of the outcome. i.e. the reason for committing an act is more important than the actual outcome of that situation. When the school of thought of deontology is applied to the example of lying to a friend in order to spare his or her feelings, it is clear how immoral and impermissible that act is.
Each person must act as the moral authority of the world regardless of how others may act around them. In this specific instance the morality of the act of lying to a friend in order to spare their feelings is brought to question. Immanuel Kant would say without hesitation that it is completely immoral and lying no matter what, is not allowed. If one has to act as the moral authority then they cannot commit any immoral acts, ever, i.e. they cannot lie ever.
The second law, to imagine everyone else on earth committing that act all the time, produces the imaginary world of everyone everywhere lying to everyone. If everyone everywhere were to lie in order to spare their friends feelings all the time then it would be expected that if someone were to pay a legitimate compliment, then it would be perceived as a lie. Or on the other hand, when a lie is told to spare another"s feelings, it will not be perceived as truth, and the friend will believe it is a lie regardless. This imaginary world would be very bad and to avoid this, the truth must be chosen over a lie when confronted by a friend.
The third rule is that each person must act out of a sense of duty, doing something not because of the outcome, but because they are acting on morals. It does not matter if the friend is happy after the interaction, the morality of the act is contained in the act itself, not the fallout of the act. It is morally right to tell the truth to a friend because it is acting out of a sense of duty, it does not matter if they are happy from the truth being told, because to lie would be much worse.
Utilitarianism was described by Jeremy Bentham as the belief that humans are driven solely by their own desires in an attempt to further themselves in happiness and mitigating pain. He believed that people view consequences of their actions as a quantification of pain or pleasure. In the act of lying to a friend, utilitarianism says that it is okay, even good, so long as the outcome is positive and maximizes pleasure and minimizes pain. According to Bentham, a person should always choose the path that maximizes pleasure in themselves as well as those around them.
In some instances, utilitarianism will lead a person to the most moral act, however in this case, it does not. Utilitarianism would attempt to lead a person to believe lying to a friend would result in the greatest pleasure overall. Stating that if the friend were to hear the truth it would result in a reasonable amount of pain, however, that only accounts for the initial thoughts and feelings. If a friend, about to go out on a date, were to ask if they looked good in an outfit, and they did not, lying to them although would result in pleasure initially, would result in pain. The initial pain the friend would feel from realizing the truth would actually be less than that of lying to them. If they were led to believe that they did in fact not look fat and looked good in their outfit, they would transverse the date with unfounded confidence and would end up having their partner lose interest in them. However, telling the truth to them would result in them changing outfits and in turn having a much better time with their partner. The shortsightedness of lying may make the thought of lying an alluring path to take, resulting in temporary pleasure, or immediate gratification. When in reality, it would result in pain and displeasure because of the butterfly effects of that action.
Mulan

Pro

Yea because imagine if your friend has a disease and you find out you shouldnt tell him because then he would worry about it. You should just keep it a secret because anxiety can be painful.
Debate Round No. 1
SurvivorManMatt

Con

I'm not sure how someone would contract a disease without knowledge of said disease, however, if they were to go without treatment, it could lead to many complications. Depending on the disease, it could be very treatable and if left unchecked, could result in permanent damage to that friend or even death.
Imagine, if you will, that you find out somehow that your friend has bronchitis, a very treatable disease and they are unaware they have been infected. If it were to be kept a secret, it will ultimately lead to their death through a slow and painful process. If you were to tell them they had contracted this disease, yes it might cause some stress and anxiety, but will in the end save their life. The temporary pain of discovering they have contracted a disease is outweighed by the consequences of not telling them. Telling the truth and explaining they have a disease will result in much more pleasure than pain.
Mulan

Pro

ok yea your right
Debate Round No. 2
SurvivorManMatt

Con

I take it that you concede, to everyone who views this, what are your opinions?
Mulan

Pro

your wrong
Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by whiteflame 1 year ago
whiteflame
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>Reported vote: The-Voice-of-Truth// Mod action: NOT Removed<

4 points to Con (S&G, Arguments), 1 point to Pro (Conduct). Reasons for voting decision: The Conduct point goes to Pro for the R3 concession, which is also why the Arguments point goes to Con. The overall spelling and grammar of Con far surpassed that of Pro, i.e Con's lack of capitalization of words and common misspellings of simple words ("yea" as an example).

[*Reason for non-removal*] Votes on conceded debates are not moderated so long as the majority of the points allocated go to the side that did not concede.
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Posted by Oppenheimer1934 1 year ago
Oppenheimer1934
This Mulan chick HAS to be a troll, I swear.
Posted by The-Voice-of-Truth 1 year ago
The-Voice-of-Truth
It would seem that both debaters are relatively new to the site. Welcome to DDO (as we Forum-Dwellers call the website).
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by Oppenheimer1934 1 year ago
Oppenheimer1934
SurvivorManMattMulanTied
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro makes 0 valid arguments, needs a dictionary, and needs to lay off the grass for a couple days.
Vote Placed by U.n 1 year ago
U.n
SurvivorManMattMulanTied
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Total points awarded:10 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro failed to use proper capital letters or punctuation in Round 2 or 3. Con displayed satisfactory S&G.
Vote Placed by The-Voice-of-Truth 1 year ago
The-Voice-of-Truth
SurvivorManMattMulanTied
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Total points awarded:41 
Reasons for voting decision: The Conduct point goes to Pro for the R3 concession, which is also why the Arguments point goes to Con. The overall spelling and grammar of Con far surpassed that of Pro, i.e Con's lack of capitalization of words and common misspellings of simple words ("yea" as an example).