Honesty - the Best Policy

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Honesty is the human quality of communicating and acting truthful and with fairness, as best one is able. It is related to truth as a value. This includes listening, reasoning and any action in the human repertoire — as well as speaking.

Superficially, honesty means simply, stating facts and views as best one truly believes them to be. It includes both honesty to others, and to oneself (see: self-deception) and about ones own motives and inner reality.

Western views on honesty
Since the quality of honesty applies to all behaviors, one cannot refuse to consider factual information, for example, in an unbiased manner and still claim that one's knowledge, belief or position is an attempt to be truthful. Such a belief is clearly a product of one's desires and simply has nothing to do with the human ability to know. Basing one's positions on what one wants — rather than unbiased evidence gathering — is dishonest even when good intentions can be cited — after all even Hitler could cite good intentions and intended glory for a select group of people. Clearly then, an unbiased approach to the truth is a requirement of honesty.

Because intentions are closely related to fairness and certainly affect the degree of honesty/dishonesty, there is a wide spread confusion about honesty--and a general belief that being dishonest means that one ALWAYS correctly understands if their behavior is either honest or dishonest. Self-perception of our morality is non-static and volatile. It's often at the moment we refuse to consider other perspectives that there is a clear indication we are not pursuing the truth, rather than simply and exclusively at the moment we can muster up evidence that we are right. Socrates had much to say about truth, honesty and morality, and explained that if people really understood that their behavior was wrong — then they simply wouldn't do it — by definition. Unfortunately, honesty in the western tradition has been marginalized to specific...
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