Download e-book for iPad: A Pack of Lies: Towards a Sociology of Lying by J. A. Barnes

By J. A. Barnes

ISBN-10: 0511520980

ISBN-13: 9780511520983

ISBN-10: 0521453763

ISBN-13: 9780521453769

ISBN-10: 0521459788

ISBN-13: 9780521459785

Defining lies as statements which are meant to lie to, this publication considers the contexts during which humans inform lies and explores the implications. the writer appears to be like at societies with detailed spiritual and moral traditions the place mendacity is the norm. He additionally indicates how teenagers collect the skill to lie at an early age, and study whilst it really is applicable 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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Extra info for A Pack of Lies: Towards a Sociology of Lying

Sample text

In many other domains where deceit is attempted, an appearance of consistency is called for; liars should therefore have good memories, so that they avoid contradicting themselves and exposing their deceits. Already in the first century AD, there was a Roman proverb (Quintilian 1921:101) that a liar should have a good memory. Later Montaigne (1926:34) observed that 'he who has not a good memory should never take upon him the trade of lying'. These maxims do not apply to politicians; consistency in a politician is, we might say, too much to expect.

British courts, like their counterparts in America, seem to place great weight on demonstrated inaccuracies in the testimony of witnesses; as Dean and 37 Ambiguous domains Whyte (1958:37) point out, once a witness has been shown to have made a mistake, the whole of his or her testimony comes under suspicion. But on the other hand, if several lay witnesses offer identical stories, they are likely to be suspected of having been rehearsed in presenting a false account; a slight amount of divergence and vagueness adds verisimilitude.

William Paley (1825:124) draws a sharp distinction between the conduct of war, during which deceit is allowable, and the termination of war, when 'the most religious fidelity is expected'. An example of a breach of this distinction is provided by the Treaty of Waitangi of 1840 between the British and the Maori people of New Zealand (Kawharu 1989; McKenzie 1987). The treaty was negotiated with two texts, one in English and the other in Maori, with ostensibly identical meanings. This identity has been challenged by Maoris and others, who maintain that the Maori text does not imply that the chiefs who signed it were yielding sovereignty to the British, which is of course the implication of the English text.

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

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