Download A Pack of Lies: Towards a Sociology of Lying by J. A. Barnes PDF

By J. A. Barnes

Defining lies as statements which are meant to lie to, this booklet considers the contexts within which humans inform lies and explores the implications. the writer appears at societies with designated non secular and moral traditions the place mendacity is the norm. He additionally indicates how young ones collect the means to lie at an early age, and examine whilst it truly is applicable to take action. In end, Professor Barnes argues that folks are likely to inform the reality, for except the query of morality, there are pragmatic purposes for doing so.

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Additional resources for A Pack of Lies: Towards a Sociology of Lying

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Counter-espionage must be a continuous process, an activity which persists in time of peace as well as in time of war ... we are fully entitled to adopt counterespionage measures against any power which indulges in espionage, whether that power be for the time friend or foe ... To tackle enemy espionage (whoever the enemy may turn out to be) it is therefore of paramount importance to keep a firm hold on the enemy's own system of agents and informers. Knowledge of his methods, knowledge of his intentions, and knowledge of the personnel of his organisation are all vitally necessary.

Unfortunately, the history of deceit is itself a suitable arena for further deceit, so that the prudent observer must take all claims as to what really happened with large doses of salt. Even so, the production of black propaganda in Northern Ireland seems clear, as well as its very limited success (see Foot 1989). Deceit practised as an accepted tactic during hostilities does not necessarily cease with the achievement of victory. Both sides may claim victory, even when an outside observer would have no hesitation in identifying the loser.

Already in the first century AD, there was a Roman proverb (Quintilian 1921:101) that a liar should have a good memory. Later Montaigne (1926:34) observed that 'he who has not a good memory should never take upon him the trade of lying'. These maxims do not apply to politicians; consistency in a politician is, we might say, too much to expect. Many of the statements made by politicians, in early eighteenth-century Britain as well as generally today, are of course truthful, and sometimes even true; each fresh pronouncement might turn out to be one of these, even if it is incompatible with earlier statements.

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