Download A Pack of Lies: Towards a Sociology of Lying by J. A. Barnes PDF

By J. A. Barnes

Defining lies as statements which are meant to misinform, this publication considers the contexts during which humans inform lies and explores the implications. the writer seems to be at societies with particular non secular and moral traditions the place mendacity is the norm. He additionally exhibits how young ones gather the potential to lie at an early age, and examine while it truly is acceptable to take action. In end, Professor Barnes argues that folks tend to inform the reality, for except the query of morality, there are pragmatic purposes for doing so.

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Levitt and Levitt (1979:336) put the matter more simply. Referring to Nixon's lies about his own career, they say: The citizenry could no longer trust Nixon's appraisal of their external reality since he had made such a mess of his own. Luckily, in a democracy no-one can believe everything said by all politicians, for what one politician says is likely to be contradicted by another. Thus one argument in favour of democracy is that it prompts us to treat all statements by politicians with caution; in the words of an anarchist poster that appeared at the time of the 1983 Australian federal election, 'Don't vote for politicians: it only encourages them'.

A saying current at the time is nearer 32 Politics the truth: George Washington couldn't tell a lie, Richard Nixon couldn't tell the truth, Ronald Reagan couldn't tell the difference. Given this attitude to the truth, are there grounds for complaint because his spokesman Larry Speakes invented statements that he attributed to the President? ' Broder calls for politicians to 'Speak for yourselves' so that, among other things, they can be seen to be responsible for their own lies. In this case, whether or not Reagan intended to deceive, it is clear that Speakes did.

Commenting on the preference for speech over writing in court proceedings, Tallis (1988:174) notes that: 36 Courts and police It is perhaps easier to lie in a written statement (which can be checked before submission for internal consistency and plausibility) prepared in the calm of the study than in a public inquisition. 'The calm of the study' may perhaps reign in the lawyer's chambers but is likely to be absent from the interrogation cell. The fabrication of evidence by the police comes to light from time to time in what are judged to be scandals.

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