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date: 15 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter focuses on the classic philosophical approaches to lying and deception by Aristotle, Plato, and Socrates. It deals with the morality of lying. Two important traditions are traced back to Plato, who sought to justify lying under certain circumstances, and Aristotle, who condemned all lies. The views of the moral absolutists Augustine, Aquinas, and Kant are clearly influenced by Aristotle. Yet even Aristotle permitted certain types of lies, for instance, self-deprecating lies told by the magnanimous person. Therefore, Socrates, the teacher of Plato, can be seen as a better prospect for holding a moral absolutist view among the ancient Greeks. While being part of the moral absolutist tradition, the moral absolutists Augustine, Aquinas, and Kant sought to develop positions different from those founded on Plato and Aristotle.

Keywords: ancient Greece, Aristotle, falsehood, irony, moral absolutism, myth, paternalistic lie, shameful lie, Plato, Socrates

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