We have all been raised to understand the immorality of lying

We have all been raised to understand the immorality of lying, regardless what its consequences may bring. However, sometimes lying is the only option in order to improve a situation. This is an example of how a Utilitarian might view this topic; the lie could be justified if the outcome brings the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people. Therefore, this means that it does not matter whether lying is considered ‘morally wrong’, as long as it brings a positive outcome then it may be justifiable.

Utilitarianism is contradicted by Kantian Ethics, which focuses more on moral principles and following a set of ‘rules’. Immanuel Kant (founder of Kantian ethics), said,”The moral principle that telling the truth is a duty, if taken as absolute and isolated, would make any society impossible.” He is saying that it is our duty to always tell the truth, otherwise society could not possibly be run. Thus, according to Kant, the act of lying outweighs the consequences of lying and we have to tell the truth as it is regarded as the ‘right’ option. But his theory raises questions. If we were to take it as a rule to never lie and we come across a situation that we have to lie in order to protect harm from happening to a person, then what do you do? Tell the truth to be ‘morally right’ and inflict harm on a person, or lie to prevent it. If we lie, the action might be ‘morally wrong’, but it is still bringing the best consequence by preventing harm to someone. Therefore, it is justifiable to lie if it is means of preventing harm to a person.