Sunday, February 27, 2011

Justice and Lies

Justice lecture 7 by Harvard University

click here to view the video on youtube

This lecture includes a moral dilemma. A murderer comes to your home and asks if your friend is in the house. Your friend is within your house, hiding from the murderer. Is it right to lie to the murderer at the door, in order to save your friend? Kant believed that you should always tell the truth and this dilemma was offered as a challenge to his beliefs.

I also believe in the importance of truth. The safety of another person would always be more important than my other convictions. However, I don't believe that this scenario would place me in a compromising circumstance. A murderer would have no understanding of integrity and high morals. There are times when there is no need to lie because the other person will not understand what you are really saying. The murderer comes to the door and I begin to speak extreme truth because I know it will not be understood. I say to the murderer 'Yes, my friend came to the house looking for place to hide from you. I said I can't lie even to a murderer, so if he comes I'll tell him that you're here. We talked for a while and they decided to stay'. There is no murderer on the planet who would believe that I was actually telling the truth. My motive would not be to mislead. I would simply be aware that people mislead themselves based on what they expect others to do.

Justice by Harvard University
To read my thoughts on earlier lectures click on the label at the bottom of the blog that reads Justice by Harvard University.