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Ethics for Professionals - Professionals & Deception (Philosophy Topic)
Pages 9 (2259 words)
Lying and deception is commonly practiced in varied professions specially in lawyering, health care, law enforcement, research, management, and others, such that the act has been accepted as part and parcel of the profession. Yet going over the ethical codes of different…
Ironically though, Nyberg (1993, p. 7) observes that despite all these public condemnations against lying and deception, everyone is actually privately culpable of it. Why so – he furthers that perhaps it is necessary to maintain equilibrium in people’s social relations, or possibly, it gives credence to moral decency. Meaning, although lying and deception is publicly acknowledged to be an immoral professional act, certain circumstances may compel or warrant professionals to resort to lying and deception. As Englehardt & Evans (1994) suggests, there are some instances when outright lying may be morally right and there may also be some instances when the simple act of not divulging information is morally wrong.
Such is the heart of the matter – Is lying and deception justified in the conduct of one’s profession? Are professionals ever justified in, or even compelled to lie to or deceive their clients? If so, in what context would this be morally permissible? If not, why? Is outright lying worse than deception in the professions? Why would it be or would it not be? Is a professional ever entitled to lie to his/her client, or to other people to protect the client? Such are seemingly easy questions? There may not be correct or wrong answers to them. Nevertheless, the issue of lying and deception in profession is one of the gray areas in professional ethics that warrant further inquiry and discussion.
From the following definitions of lying – ‘No liar preserves faith in that about which he lies… wishes that he to whom he lies have faith in him, but… does not preserve faith by lying to him’ (Chisholm & Feehan 1977, p. 152); ‘A person lies when he asserts something to another which he believes to be false with the intention of getting the other to believe it to be true’ (Kupfer 1982, p. 104); ‘A person lies when he asserts a proposition he believes to be false’ (Fried 1978, p. 55); Lying is ‘making a statement believed to be ...
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