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Is it always wrong to tell a lie?

Tom Tropp | June 20, 2017

Our company distributes equipment for the construction industry; we represent several manufacturers. A customer recently asked our sales department if the product we recommended to the customer is the best one available. We answered in the affirmative even though we suspected that another product might be superior, but not available through us. Is that wrong?

With apologies to the 18th Century philosopher, Immanuel Kant, who felt quite strongly that it is never appropriate to tell a lie; I do believe there are situations in which telling an untruth is not a bad thing. The classic example, of course, is when the Nazis knock on the door and ask if you are hiding any Jews in the house, and you answer negatively even though you have a family concealed on the fourth floor. Fortunately, very few of us have this situation occurring on a regular basis.

However, I will go out on a limb here and say that I generally agree with Kant; there are not many... To get the full story, subscribe now.