- Religion and Philosophy
Categorical imperative: Should a person lie to protect another person's reputation?
Lies and Truth
To Lie or Not?
First, lying to protect the reputation of another person would go in to tarnishing whatever reputation the person had given that lying would mean that they are not willing to be responsible for their actions. The categorical imperative is the approach that denotes the absolute, unconditional requirement, which has to be obeyed in any and all circumstances, being justified as an end in it. This is to mean that we should only act to the maxim whereby we can, at the same time, will, or agree that it should be the universal law.
If I am to lie in order to protect the reputation of my friend, then I should also accept that this be practiced by every other person in the world, and therefore become the norm. However, with lying becoming the norm, which would devalue any trust that people may have had for each other. This therefore goes to mean that we should never lie even if it is with the intention of protecting the reputation of a friend. In so doing, nothing about us or those we are lying for would be trustworthy. For instance, in such a situation, my friend (who I am lying for) would doubt whether I, myself am trustworthy while I would doubt whether he/she is trustworthy, or whether this is something he/she has done in more than one occasion.
Failure to tell the truth, and thus lying would therefore ultimately mean that no one can be trusted. This is not a conducive society for anyone in any social or business setting. This is also likely to result in a variety of other problems within the society including the inability to build trustworthy relationships with others or even trusting leaders. Given that I would not wish for lying to become the norm in the society therefore, I am of the opinion that we should not lie in order to protect the reputation of our friends.