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1. Is lying ever morally justifiable? What about “white lies”? Use examples to illustrate your
2. “If you don’t cheat to get ahead you’ll be a loser.” Discuss the morality of this statement. On
what grounds is it justifiable or not?
3. According to what principles and in what situations might it be acceptable to break a promise?
4. Is stealing morally acceptable in some situations? Critically examine the arguments for and
against stealing.
5. Compare and contrast the consequentialist and nonconsequentialist positions on some of
these issues. Which position is the best overall and why?
Lies of commission involve leaving out vital information.
Kant would argue that we cannot universalize stealing, cheating, lying and breaking promises.
Shakespeare’s character Iago in Othello is a wonderful example of honesty and truthfulness.
“Cheating is okay so long as you don’t get caught” could work on a nonconsequentialist view.
Cheats always prosper.
Kant would say that breaking a promise is never justified.
Stealing is acceptable on some consequentialist arguments.
When asked by a prison chaplain why he stole from banks the great Willie Sutton replied:
“cause that’s where the money is.”
9. “Everything I say is a lie” – “including what I’ve just said and including this sentence.”
10. Honesty is the best policy.
11. What philosopher believed that lying and cheating were always wrong?
a) John Stuart Mill
b) Jeremy Bentham
c) Augustine
d) The guy who sits next to you in class
12. A major argument against lying is that
a) it gives unfair advantage to women.
b) it misinforms the people lied to.
c) it doesn’t help anyone.
d) men lose self-esteem.
13. “I know lying is bad but I just felt like it.” Who might say such a thing?
a) Consequentialists
b) Hippies
c) Act utilitarians
d) Act nonconsequentialists
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