Is Deception Justified?

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Everyone characterizes deception differently. One may view it as breaking the trust of a loved one and think of it as mere deceit. Others may accept deception as a way to gain/give happiness. Some may even think of it as part of life. More commonly, deception stands being viewed as hand and hand with “evil”, this includes, not only viewed by people, but also portrayed in movies and novels from all eras of time. Frequently feelings dealing with deceit –lying or jealousy- creates anger in an individual leading into irrationality. However, can a simple trick or lie for the sake of entertainment or flattery allow deception to be justified?

Robert Southey once said “All deception in the course of life is indeed nothing else but a lie reduced to practice, and falsehood passing from words into things.” (Southey 133) If we look through the famous works of today, we notice deception is the major downfall of main characters or villains. In Shakespeare’s Othello the feelings of deceit and jealousy are prevalent throughout the play by Lago, which ultimately leads up to his actions against other characters of the play. However, many disagree with Robert Southey. A philosophy called utilitarianism refers to what is good for a human being. Therefore, according the philosophy of utilitarianism, if deceiving someone saves a life, or causes happiness to another, or others, then deception is justified. The only problem with this philosophy is, how can one measure one’s happiness against another’s misery? Assuming this deception backfires or the deceiver is not happy or is feeling guilty with the deceit. Lying and deception are extremely common when interacting with another person. Nearly everyday, either associating, or being in contact with another, one can expect to either witness or convey deception. “Deception can be defined as an intentional verbal message that does not honestly reflect an individual’s actual opinion” (Zuckerman, DeFrank, Hall, Larrance, & Rosenthal, 1979)....
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