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  • September 28, 2016, 05:28:37 PM

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Author Topic: When an Untruth is Not a Lie  (Read 1044 times)

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sandisadie

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When an Untruth is Not a Lie
« on: September 26, 2016, 12:58:30 PM »
I have an opinion on this subject but would welcome others thoughts. Lets say that you make a statement in public about another person and then go on to say that what you are saying means certain events will come about.  Later you are called out for lying about that person.  You counter that you didn't lie because you actually didn't know one way or the other about the subject.  Is your ignorance of the truth justification for saying whatever you wish?

wolfie

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Re: When an Untruth is Not a Lie
« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2016, 01:00:22 PM »
I have an opinion on this subject but would welcome others thoughts. Lets say that you make a statement in public about another person and then go on to say that what you are saying means certain events will come about.  Later you are called out for lying about that person.  You counter that you didn't lie because you actually didn't know one way or the other about the subject.  Is your ignorance of the truth justification for saying whatever you wish?

No. Ignorance of the truth means you should have kept your mouth shut - especially if what you are saying is damaging for the other person. And how can you make a statement like that if you don't know anything about the situation either?

Outdoor Girl

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Re: When an Untruth is Not a Lie
« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2016, 01:01:49 PM »
If you say something about someone or something that you know to be false, it is a lie.

If you say something about someone or something that you don't know to be true?  IMO, it is also a lie.
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Mustard

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Re: When an Untruth is Not a Lie
« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2016, 01:15:13 PM »
If  'you actually didn't know one way or the other about the subject' why comment at all?

#borecore

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Re: When an Untruth is Not a Lie
« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2016, 01:17:42 PM »
Let me get this straight. I'm not sure I get the question.

 If I say, "Lauren is heartless" and later I say, "If Lauren doesn't stop being so heartless, someone's feelings are going to get hurt," and later Diana proves that Lauren is compassionate, am I to "blame" for guessing about Lauren's empathy skills?

Or is it more like I say "Ron steals from people" and then later say "If Ron doesn't stop stealing he'll wind up in jail" and then Ron is arrested and winds up "not guilty"? And then I said, "I didn't know either way. I was just relying on what Jen has said"?

In either case, I think it would largely depend on what led me to the initial belief and why I shared it.

Just lying and then pretending I didn't? Bad. Relying on rumors? Not great. Sharing public information that turned out to be false? Understandable.

TurtleDove

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Re: When an Untruth is Not a Lie
« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2016, 01:21:39 PM »
I'm not sure I understand the OP, but I agree with the PPs that there is no reason to make a statement at all, especially a negative one, if the speaker does not have knowledge about what they are saying. If the speaker said, "Sally was late to work today - she will certainly be fired," and Sally was not actually late for work, then that is a lie. If Sally was late to work but wasn't fired, it isn't technically a lie but neither is it necessary or kind to say. The part about Sally being fired is the speaker's opinion or prediction and doesn't reflect on Sally at all, in my opinion, but rather on the speaker.

It may help to have actual facts here. I don't know that the question that should be focused on is whether the statement is a "lie" but rather on the purpose of the statement and whether it is appropriate even if not a lie.

Allyson

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Re: When an Untruth is Not a Lie
« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2016, 02:09:48 PM »
It depends. Being wrong isn't lying, and often people believe they are right no matter what. For instance, when somebody informs me "I'm really good at reading people!" they probably aren't, in my experience. But they think they are, so they aren't lying.

If somebody knows they are ignorant on a subject and decides to make a "guess" they know is a guess, but present it as truth, I think that's basically lying or at least misrepresentation.

So "David is a really bad worker and will get fired soon" isn't lying if the speaker believes it, but is probably rude to say and makes the speaker look pretty bad if David is later proven to be a great worker who gets promoted, not fired.

But, "I saw Melissa out with a guy. She's cheating on her husband!" when the speaker knows they don't know if the person Melissa's out with is a brother, gay best friend, straight best friend, coworker etc. and is just being gossippy/speculative but stating it like fact? That counts as a lie to me.

Twik

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Re: When an Untruth is Not a Lie
« Reply #7 on: September 26, 2016, 02:53:53 PM »
If you believed what you said at the time, it's not a lie. However, it's a foolish thing to speak on something you know nothing about as if you did.
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jpcher

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Re: When an Untruth is Not a Lie
« Reply #8 on: September 26, 2016, 04:31:19 PM »
Is your ignorance of the truth justification for saying whatever you wish?

No. I agree with others, when talking about people you should keep your thoughts to yourself.



Wordgeek

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Re: When an Untruth is Not a Lie
« Reply #9 on: September 26, 2016, 05:15:02 PM »
Closed, because I think this has gone as far as it can, constructively.


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