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20 Dec 2005

Of Law and Lying

Posted by Oblivion in General | 9:58pm

Excerpts from a discussion between Philosophy students on Ethics and Lying:

"Well, you see the human being, in the human mind is a funny thing. We don't know--collectively as human beings--anything about the absolute truth. You have two people that witness a murder. One says the gasoline attendant went in [for his gun] and the fella shot in self-defense (even though he was committing a crime). The other will say the felon just opened fire and the man had his hands in the air. Or in a police shooting. The crowd says the man was unarmed and the police planted a gun. He had his hand raised--and the police shot him. On the hand the police say, 'The man was pointing a gun at us and we shot him.' Yet in the context of absolute truth, both might be in their minds telling the truth. Because you have elements that override both the police and the witnesses. Those are surprise and panic. And both can distort the truth.

"Einstein said when two people observe the same event, because they're two people, they see things differently, it's not the same experiment."

Are such insights ever taught at any Law school? I wonder.

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3 Comments | "Of Law and Lying" »

  1. By Vijay

    22 Dec 2005, 3:03pm [ Reply ]

    I understand your underlying concern that made you write this. But, the legal system has always relied on (and still continues to do so) heavily on 'facts' (but 'Truth' is a different word altogether), which in turn rely heavily on 'evidence'.

    While the presence of an 'evidence' in itself might point to the possibility of a thousand things, it is primarily taken, in several cases, to stand testimony to the occurrence of just that one event--the 'fact'--to the exclusion of all the other 'possibilities'. (No, it's not the effect of Emily Rose; I've always held this view.)

    Thankfully, however, the system also takes cognizance of this underlying limitation, and hence tries to move closer to the truth by perusing not just evidence-based 'facts' but also delving into 'motives' and 'intentions'.

    Yes, notwithstanding all this, one might be completely off the mark and never ever get to know what the truth is in a given matter.

    In an existential plane, getting to know what 'Truth' is (whatever it is, if there is one) is almost next to impossible, it appears, partly due to 'complexities' inherent in the way the Universe is made, and partly due to 'complications' brought into existence, thanks to the handiwork of an overzealous and overambitious species called home sapiens, both in the realm of the outer reality of the Universe and in the realm of the inner reality of its own collective psyche.

  2. By Sanjukta

    22 Dec 2005, 2:39pm [ Reply ]

    And ever heard the concept of Truth of Fact and truth of thought.., sometimes a truth of fact as witnessed by a human is changed according to his thoughts...this occurs while transferring a set of facts from one mind to another, from me to you, to your friend, each time the minds of each individual adds or deletes of make some changes to the Facts...thinking what they are doing is the absolute truth. In their mind what they saw and what they think they saw becomes blurred...

    Oh BTW they don't teach these at Law schools but at higher studies of law we do have studies like Criminal Jurisprudence, and criminal psychology

  3. By PJ

    21 Dec 2005, 2:10pm [ Reply ]

    In reality there exists no truth. Truth is but a myth. Your blog reminds me of the movie Roshemon by Akira Kurosawa. In this, 5 (if I'm not mistake) different people witness a murder and desribe it to the judiciary. Each one of them seems to be telling the truth, and in the end the viewers are left to ponder as to who's version to believe. But, in reality, none of the 5 people were lying, it was left to us to give credence to the "truth" we want to belive in.

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