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Series

Columbia Law School

1999

Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility

Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics

Articles 1 - 1 of 1

Full-Text Articles in Law

Virtuous Lying: A Critique Of Quasi-Categorical Moralism, William H. Simon Jan 1999

Virtuous Lying: A Critique Of Quasi-Categorical Moralism, William H. Simon

Faculty Scholarship

Popular and professional moralists have a tendency to over-condemn lying. This Article is a critique of that tendency and the more general outlook it exemplifies, which I call Quasi-Categorical Moralism. I begin with an illustration from my own experience of morally appropriate lying that is condemned by the legal profession's ethics norms. I proceed to a critical examination of the arguments against lying in what is perhaps the best known contemporary work on professional ethics – Sissela Bok's Lying. I then explore the more sympathetic treatment of lying in a broad range of literary and philosophical works typically ignored ...