3 min read

Whether it is ever right to lie?

Is it ever right to lie? Of course not. Instinctively, we all know that it is not. But often when faced with the decision of whether or not we should lie, we overlook the morality of the situation, and do what seems best for us at that moment. Let us consider that a patient is going to die, but if the doctor withholding bad news from patient in order to give them hope. Is it good to lie? Absolutely no. Its right to salute Kant’s position that being moral means being consistent in each and every instance.

It will be the wrong choice or decision of a doctor to give a hope to patient instead of being consistent. According to Immanuel Kant, “If you want to be moral, you must never contradict the personal rule that you use to make a decision.” He insisted that there was no concept of “sometimes.” Kant suggests, “Lying is a form of manipulation, a way of using someone as a tool.” Human being should always be treated with respect because they “posses dignity.” If one doctor lie to one patient, but “what if everyone acted this way?” The answer would be that no one could trust anyone. Patient is wholly depend and believe on doctor but if doctor lie to him it is not moral. Kant’s position is summarized as, “Because we cannot predict consequences, we must ignore them and be consistent”.

Sometimes people don’t want to hurt other people from bad news and they lie or keep secret and try to be moral. Same way doctor also don’t want to hurt the patient and give them hope. So, that they will enjoy their moment of life for some more days. In some context it is moral to lie. It is moral to keep people happy by lying for some time. But in the end the lie will be known by all. Then after there will not be good relationship between them. Nevertheless, it is dangerous concept to lie, for keeping people happy for a moment.

When lie is not known by all, it didn’t hurt all however it hurt doctor by telling lie to patient. But in the end when lie is known by all it also hurt to all. Since, if doctor was absolutist, it won’t be happened. Moreover, he will always look back on his incident with same and regret. He will always suggest that telling lie is wrong. And he will hold Kant position, there is no concept of “sometimes”. Doctor hurt himself by his action, which is obvious by his regret. His action made it harder for him to be a good doctor he could respect.

Our instincts tell us it is wrong to lie and our instincts are right. It is wrong for doctor to lie his patient with holding bad news. Perhaps Kant’s position that people should never lie is too idealistic for our complex world, but his broader idea is still valid: it is wrong to undermine someone else’s integrity in order to achieve our personal goals. In addition, it was wrong for doctor to focus only on the consequences of keeping patient happy for some time. Though it is easy to argue that this is sometimes true, it can also put us in the position of being untrue to ourselves, as with doctor. Instead, doctor should have thought about to keep patient happy for some time by holding bad news. How would he feel about another doctor withholding bad news from him in order to give him hope?

Ethics is the study of right and wrong. The Philosopher Immanuel Kant is the leader of the Bergen Ethical Culture Society.