Caring by lying

Bioethics 35 (9):877-883 (2021)

Abstract

Caring for loved ones with dementia can sometimes necessitate a loose relationship with the truth. Some might view such deception as categorically immoral, and a violation of our general truth-telling obligations. I argue that this view is mistaken. This is because truth-telling obligations may be limited by the particular relationships in which they feature. Specifically, within caregiving relationships, we are often permitted (and sometimes obligated) to deceive the people with whom we share them. Our standing to deceive follows from certain features of caregiving relationships. Specifically, they are relationships that involve obligations to promote a person's interests and values (and not simply their autonomy), that often permit us to assume the hypothetical consent of the person with whom we share them, and in which we are often entitled to act out of self-interest. Once we appreciate these features, we will be able to recognize that the truth-telling norms governing our relationships with loved ones with dementia do not represent a radical departure from our general truth-telling obligations, but are instead consistent with truth-telling norms that feature in other caregiving relationships. In addition, we will be able to understand why we may feel conflicted about lying to loved ones with dementia, even when lying is permissible.

Download options

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 72,856

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Analytics

Added to PP
2021-10-09

Downloads
13 (#776,575)

6 months
1 (#386,040)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Jordan MacKenzie
Virginia Tech

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The Ease of Lying.Bruno Verschuere, Adriaan Spruyt, Ewout H. Meijer & Henry Otgaar - 2011 - Consciousness and Cognition 20 (3):908-911.
Telling the Truth.J. Jackson - 1991 - Journal of Medical Ethics 17 (1):5-9.
Truth Telling in Medicine: The Confucian View.Ruiping Fan & Benfu Li - 2004 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 29 (2):179 – 193.
Arendt’s Apology.Michael Ure - 2018 - Philosophy Today 62 (2):419-446.
Universality and the Liar: An Essay on Truth and the Diagonal Argument.Keith Simmons - 1993 - Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.