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English Essay: Persuasive Essay on Lying


linrose 1 / -  
Nov 30, 2016   #1
I'm currently writing an essay on why lying is justifiable but I feel like the reasons I give are more so examples than anything. I'm currently at a standstill for what do. Feel free to give any feedback! Do you think I should change anything?

The definition of a lie entails the action of telling an intentionally false statement. Lying is part of human nature. We learn to do so from the moment we can talk and as we grow older, it begins to function more as a second language. We all know liars, and the vast majority of us lie from time to time. Of course, lying does not always attribute to dishonesty, untrustworthiness, or deceit, like we were taught early in our education. In fact, of the 200 lies we are exposed to every day, a fair fraction of them are harmless. We tell these types lies to help another person, or to avoid inflicting hurt feelings. Other times, we lie for the benefit of ourselves, without harming others. Lying has been always seen as morally wrong, however, there is a multitude of situations where lying is highly justifiable.

A white lie is defined as a harmless or trivial untruth that is usually told to avoid hurting someone's feelings. In many cases, white lies may be more beneficial compared to the truth. It can prevent unreasonable quarrels between people and leave both sides satisfied. For instance, if you receive a gift that you are not very satisfied with, you would be justified in lying and convincing the other party that you are happy with what you received. If you were to reveal your true feelings instead, you could create future conflict and gain a negative reputation from your peers. In this situation, telling a white lie would have lead to the most positive outcome.

Lying in specific scenarios in order to delay pain or suffering (emotional or physical) may also be justifiable. Sometimes, this may involve lying to a child. If you are given the task to talk to a young child about the death of their loved one, it would be better to lie and give them a scenario that they can cope with and process. The young brain has yet to develop the ability to digest such horrors, so in some cases, it might be better to gloss things over. Lying with the purpose of protecting or delaying a painful situation can be kinder to the receiver than just telling the truth when they may not be ready to hear it.

Moreover, telling a lie to save a life is also acceptable. For example, in a medical situation where a patient enters an operation that can cause him his life, lying about the survival rates can encourage the patient to push to fight for his life. In the case of war, lying to the enemy in a prisoner of war scenario can potentially save the lives of you and your peers. When you have the potential to prevent death through lying, it is completely warranted.

Ever since we were young, we were always taught that honesty is the best policy, and lying is something we should avoid. Whilst this holds some truth, being completely honest is not always the right decision to make. If you were to take anything from this, it should be that telling a lie in certain situations would bring better prospects than speaking the truth.

Shuting 3 / 23 4  
Dec 4, 2016   #2
@linrose
I think your essay is persuasive overall. What you need to do is to be more clarified about and separate clearly the three scenario where lying is justifiable. For example, I think white lie can also be used to describe the examples you gave in the next paragraph: lying to a child about death. After all, it is also out of kindness to keep others from hurt. So I think you should think about the categories more carefully and put your examples in a clearer framework.
chav 1 / 6 1  
Dec 4, 2016   #3
@linrose

You said "telling a lie to save a life is also acceptable." I agree with this, but I feel the example you gave is fraught with pitfalls.

In the example that follows you wrote "For example, in a medical situation where a patient enters ... "

First of all, in principle patients should not be lied to and should be given all the facts for them to make their own decisions. Survival rates are important facts that underpin important medical decisions and they should not be treated lightly. It's the doctor's duty to tell patients the truth. For the doctor to lie in order to "push the patient to fight for his life" is morally wrong, not to mention law-breaking.

There may be cases where lies are acceptable, such as when operation is the only way to save the patient's life and the patient is not capable of thinking clearly. Still, in those cases, the lying should come from someone else, such as relatives, not the doctor.

Another acceptable scenario is when the lie is told not during the decision process but rather when the operation is already decided and must go ahead no matter what. At this point, it's probably okay to lie if only to give the patients some hope and lift their spirits instead of having them going into surgery depressed.

I believe you have this last scenario in mind when you wrote the sentence, but it's not clearly stated. It also bothers me that the survival rates could come into play here. When the patient is about to undertake a life-or-death operation, he or she should be well aware of survival chance. Lying about it now could leave the patient confused instead. ( "Don't worry, dear. Everything will be fine. You will come out okay" "But there's a good chance I may not survive --- the doctor said the survival rate is only 10%" "No, he was mistaken. It is over 80%. He just told me this morning." "...")

Perhaps it's better to simply cut this out and instead add more to the second example (in the case of war), which is on solid ground and will benefit from more details.
Holt - / 7,527 2001  
Dec 4, 2016   #4
Rose, actually, your paper is not properly representing the discussion of lies. You say that there are times when lying is justifiable, I will admit that there are situations when that is correct. The problem is, you are not properly categorizing lies in your essay. You speak of white lies only as the focus of your essay. In order to properly support your opinion, you should have used the more professional types of lies which are as follows:

1. Lies of Commission - This is when someone tells something that is not a fact. This is also known as twisting the truth.
2. Lies of Omission - Is when you leave out an important part of information. This is usually easier to tell for people because it entails only telling half the truth.

Had you used the correct professional classification of lies in support of your evidence, the essay would have become more authoritative and shown that you did deeper research for this paper instead of just using the first result that turned up in a Google search.


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