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Lying: deception in human affairs

Bernard M. Meltzer (Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work, Central Michigan University)

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy

ISSN: 0144-333X

Article publication date: 1 June 2003



Seeking to clarify the concept of lying, I deal with several topics on which ideas vary. I consider the symbolic, intentional, misleading, and relational character of lies, and include secrecy and other forms of deliberate deception within lies on the basis of these components. Next, I distinguish between human and nonhuman deception, invoking the concepts of symbols, role‐taking, self, and mind. Following this, I present several representative categories of the infinite array of benign and exploitive social contexts in which lying occurs. In a brief discussion, I then impugn the commonly‐used notion of “self‐deception” as internally contradictory. And, finally, I describe both negative and positive consequences of deception in human affairs.



Meltzer, B.M. (2003), "Lying: deception in human affairs", International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Vol. 23 No. 6/7, pp. 61-79.




Copyright © 2003, MCB UP Limited

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