37 Pages Posted: 4 Mar 2021 Last revised: 30 Jun 2021
Date Written: March 3, 2021
A popular saying distinguishes lies from damned lies: this paper asks about the difference. It does so as a way of considering the variety of lies told by former President Trump and the variety of ways in which his lying was wrong. Specifically it focuses on the manipulative aspect of lies, the grave and malicious damage that a lie may do to particular person, and the ways in which lying degrades and undermines conventions associated with human communication in various specific areas of discourse. Some of these ideas are found in Kant's moral philosophy, and Kant's views on lying are examined sympathetically and in detail. Many of President Trump's lies were banal and self-serving. But they underline our sense of a common world and the importance of truth as a touchstone in politics as in everyday life. Trump's lies about the 2020 election are given special attention in light of the point that his duty was not so much to convey accurate information--we have other sources for that--but to perform the formal task of *affirming* the results in order to allow the political system to continue operating.
Keywords: ethics, Kant, lies, lying, mendacity, perjury, politics, Trump, truth
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