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Cultural-Historical Psychology

Publisher: Moscow State University of Psychology and Education

ISSN (printed version): 1816-5435

ISSN (online): 2224-8935

DOI: https://doi.org/10.17759/chp

License: CC BY-NC 4.0

Started in 2005

Published quarterly

Free of fees
Open Access Journal

Affiliated ISCAR

 

Is It Acceptable To Lie To a Murderer in Order To Prevent a Crime: An Analysis of Historical Polemic 1120

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Poddyakov A.N.
PhD in Psychology, Professor, Faculty of Psychology, Department of General and Experimental Psychology, ,, State University — Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia
e-mail: alpod@gol.ru

Abstract
The controversy about Kant's essay «On a Supposed Right to Tell Lies from Benevolent Motives» is discussed, where Kant justifies the idea: if a murderer asks a person where his friend is hiding in order to kill his friend, morality calls not to lie to a murder and tell the truth. The article argues that although the followers of this Kantian position are considered as absolutists, and its opponents — as relativists, the Kantians with a necessity perform a large-scale relativization of the truth maxima and often adopt even a more conformist position regarding deceit than Kant's opponents, the «relativists». We introduce the paradoxes of a «dear friend» and «Kant's generalized consequence for a variety of friends» that describe the contradictory positions of Kant supporters. The «absolutist» and «relativists» confrontation is interpreted as a polemic between the supporters of reductionist and holistic (integrated) methodological approaches taking into account that the methodological confrontation is intensified by the confrontation of moral values.

Keywords: Kant, lies, deception, the principle of truth, moral absolutisation and relativization, holism, reductionism.

Column: Discussions and Discourses

For Reference

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