The Truth About Deception




Laughlin, Lauren

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Drawing upon the works of ancient as well as modern day philosophers, I propose that truthfulness is an inherent condition of social life as people are constantly presented with opportunities in their everyday interactions to tell the truth – or to lie. This thesis examines the manner in which people weigh their moral obligations with their social interests to tell the truth, as we are social beings susceptible to insecurities. In order to determine the social contexts under which people deceive others, I will examine people’s behavior in varying degrees of relationships with other people, their motivations to deceive others, and their perceived success in their ability to deceive others. By exploring the harm that deception causes to society and individuals, I argue that people struggle to balance their desire to achieve the virtue of truthfulness with their desire for social desirability and acceptance.