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What is lying?

  1. Jul 19, 2004 #1
    What is lying?
    Is it making a flase statement? or is it also purposely missleading someone even tho u are telling the truth?

    If someone asks you if you did something and reply with "I didn't do nothing!" when you did do something, is that lying?

    Or what about if someone asks you a question and you know what they meen but you aswer the question according to what they asked not what they ment, is that lying?
    eg: if some asked me if i do TEE (Tercery entrance exam) and i reply with "I havn't done it". When i know they ment "are you doing a subject which lets you do a TEE" and now this person thinks i don't do a TE subject when i actually do. Was that lying?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 20, 2004 #2
    lie2 ( P ) Pronunciation Key (l)
    A false statement deliberately presented as being true; a falsehood.
    Something meant to deceive or give a wrong impression.
  4. Jul 20, 2004 #3

    Tom Mattson

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    This is an ethical question if ever I've heard one. Off to Value Theory you go.
  5. Jul 20, 2004 #4
    Lying is A Stupid Man's Theory

    The Quality of a Lie
    Lying is something that only exists in the realm of communication. Statements used for communication (can also be behavior) that represent things in an impartial, exagerated, diminished or disordered way are lies. The essential principle in lying is the statements chosen do not represent the situation accurately. Mistakes can be lies essentially and so can common beliefs and accepted practices. Many people claim intention is what defines the lie, but intention is a very minor factor. Intention is related, but the essential principle is that some words do not represent a thing in life accurately.

    The Weight of a Lie
    To quantify is to compare the correct representation with the incorrect representation. The difference is the maginitude of the lie. A big factor of the weight of a lie is the context the lie was told within.

    It's better to be truthfull, because it's more economic. Lies are like an unnecessary beauracracy, they suck up usefull energy that could be more efficienty spent. If you are in a situation that for your happiness requires alot of lying, you are in the wrong place in life. You are living a lie. How much of a lie would be hard to tell, unless you compared it to a time in your life where you didn't have to lie. It's literally a waste of energy.
  6. Jul 20, 2004 #5


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    i would definitely say lying is a deliberate form of miscommunication...i am unable to lie and if i try, my face will turn bright red...
  7. Jul 20, 2004 #6

    Ivan Seeking

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    I used to think that high level business executives lie frequently. Then I learned that it is usually the small timer that lies directly. The big people tell very clever lies of omission, and misdirection, and calculated deception, but without ever lying directly. What has amazed me most is the blatant, almost prideful way that they go about it. While doing technical support and when I first refused to intentionally mislead a customer, I was sent into the owner’s office and sat down for a talk. Even though this guy was not big shot in the corporate sense, he was independently wealthy, very wealthy, and a very, very smooth operator. He tried to shame me for my naivety. I laughed at him.

    On the flip side, here is his reality. If he told the truth at all times he couldn't exist as a company. Now which is the greater evil: To lie and save a critical order, or to tell the truth and then lay off people that have families and that need jobs?
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2004
  8. Jul 20, 2004 #7


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    No, because the statement "I didn't do nothing" implies that you did something, therefore, you are being truthful. :biggrin:
  9. Jul 21, 2004 #8


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    i am unable to lie and if i try, my face will turn bright red ... :mad:
  10. Jul 21, 2004 #9
    Considering that everything significant is in your example, he was telling the truth more than lying. If he told the so called truth and lost the order, created job loss and created problems with business partners, that would be misreprenting the interests of the circumstance. Misrepresenting the interests is inaccurate management and is essentially lying.

    He was representing interests. Lying is being inaccurate. He was representing humanity and efficiency in this circumstance, which is being truthfull in the ultimate sense vs. a known corporate sense where a misrepresentation of a small detail can be looked at as a major violation of significant physical interests.

    I don't mean to say the ends justifies the means, but in select situations where the pivot point of a harmless lie outwieghs a huge problematic result, the truth is in the means and actions, not in the language.
  11. Jul 21, 2004 #10
    Do nonhuman animals lie?
  12. Jul 21, 2004 #11

    Ivan Seeking

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    I think so. A long time ago we had a thread somewhere about animal deception. I cited an example of our dogs learning to sneak out at night. It required a calculated deception. I remember another member told of a dog that learned to raise its toes in order to sneak, not click, across the kitchen floor, in order to get the cat food.

    Someone chimed in that seemed quite knowledgeable who talked of animal brains and human intent, as opposed to trained, or learned [Pavlovian] responses, but in the end the distinctions seemed academic. We too are animals after all.
  13. Jul 21, 2004 #12

    Ivan Seeking

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    I never said the lie was without consequences to his customers. For example, should I neglect to tell the customer that the fiber optic cable for our particular control systems require a Japanese standard size that in emergencies may not be immediately available in the US. Or that the actual delivery date of the equipment is anyone's guess? Of course I know that the competition has its own problems, and that any system had hidden costs, so if I don't lie the competition will and the customer is no better off.

    When do we cross the line? When is it lying and when is it acting responsibly? How much of a lie may I tell and when? Do we base it on the dollar value; to whom, my boss or my customer?
  14. Jul 22, 2004 #13
    An artful deciever can rise to wealth and fame or even become president of the U.S... but then lies become reality in time not that all lies are bad, some may turn out to be a greater truth or what we think is the truth may turn out to be a lie, but also it's a lot easier to be a deciever, it's also a lot easier to use lies to combat lies. My theory is that almost ever company is going to lie and swindle as much as they can out of the customers until the customers do more business with honest companies at which point it becomes more profitable to be honest, to make a better car or a longer lasting garage door, or use 1 ox instead of 10 ditch diggers...but then if the majority of people favour dishonesty then they are less likely to favour an honest company or prefer a honest president, does this make sense? It's like it all depends on the values and beliefs of the majority, we choose what kind of world we want to live in by what kind of people we are as individuals. Basically a lie is the easy way to get what one wants with least effort and without moral principles, the more one rejects the morals the greater their success at taking what they desire from others or the environment, and the best liars probably have grown to really believe that they are telling the absolute truth which makes them so believable...but I wonder is there really a highier price to pay in believing in a lie over a reality? Truth maybe more a reflection of what benefits everyone and is often guided by sound principles, reason, and objectivity and is much more difficult in comparision.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 22, 2004
  15. Jul 22, 2004 #14


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    It is said that 'the truth shall set you free'. Into what are you freely released I wonder?
  16. Jul 22, 2004 #15
    So looking at that dictionary, it says it does not have to be a false statement. It could be a correct statement, but used to misslead. aka "Lieing with the truth". i find a lot of people ask me questions with out bothering to be persific in the details. This forces me to guess what details they would most likerly be wanting. this ends up with me saying facts which they do not want to hear.

    another thing that annoys me is people using double negatives.

    Them: dont ya wanna drink?
    Me: yes
    Them: *hands me a drink*
    Me: why did you hand me a drink when i said i did not want one?
    Them: BUT YOU SAID YES! *calls me all kinds of names*
    Me: ¬_¬
  17. Jul 22, 2004 #16


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    I worked in tech support for a while and often times I would know when a customer was lying to me about troubleshooting a problem. I would ask have you done this? How about that? And this other thing? All were answered 'YES'. So I would then ask them a question in a certain tone of voice that would make them answer the question as they thought I wanted to hear it. Again they are lying when they would fall for this old tone of voice trick. Then I would tell them (truthfully): "Well that's what your problem is. You need to go and fix that. You hooked that up wrong." Now in actuality the customer probably had no idea how it was hooked up or whatever they just believed in their own mind that the product was defective and wanted a replacement. Through deciet I forced them to go back and 'do their homework' so to speak. They were better off for it in the end and so was I.
  18. Jul 23, 2004 #17
    Sounds like another Jedi mind trick.
  19. Jul 23, 2004 #18
    Lying is taking a incomplete theory, and using that as law, and then getting people to believe that semi-theory as law.

    Law is a organization judging action taken based on complete theories, proven theories.

    A civil society and person is one versed in complete, socially accepted theories, and immune to a point to lies or semi-theories faking them out as if they were complete legal theories. :rofl:
  20. Jul 24, 2004 #19
    What evolutionary process do you think may have lead to lying?
  21. Jul 24, 2004 #20
    That one used to confuse me so much when i was about 7 yoa, i didn't know whether to say yes or no. I remember one time while playing soccer my coach asked me if i didn't want to come off, i replied with "yes" then he started to send the sub on when i wanted to play. So confusing :confused:

    does that mean i am lying?
    what if a police officer comes up to me and i say "i didn't do nothing" when i just robbed a house i am i lying if he thinks i ment i didn't do anything?

    I don't think truthful yet missleading statements are lyes.
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