Lying may be biologically programmed--the earliest Homo sapiens probably kept private foraging caches to ensure their own...

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LIES, DECEPTION AND TRUTH

Lying may be biologically programmed--the earliest Homo sapiens probably kept private foraging caches to ensure their own survival--and people have practiced deception ever since. Weiss presents interesting notions (if the natural world--e.g., the Venus flytrap --deceives, why shouldn't we?); startling facts (Newton fudged his figures); complex ideas (St. Augustine classified eight levels of lies); and the conflict between the necessity for truth versus the need to deceive. She explores ideas through questions: Who lies? Do good intentions make a moral difference? Should children know all the facts about a family illness or death? (Some psychologists would disagree with her negative on that one.) Are silent lies (censorship or omission) as serious as verbalized lies? When in history have lies led to disaster? Which governmental lies are intolerable? Can the present deceitful climate be changed by teaching ethics in school? This challenging topic is difficult to think about, discuss, or organize--but Weiss holds attention by testing increasingly complex ideas against points she has already presented. The fascinating result should help youngsters toward more mature understanding of themselves and others.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1988

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1988