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Thread: Is excluding information really lying?

  1. #1 Is excluding information really lying? 
    Forum Ph.D. Raziell's Avatar
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    After a much heated debate with a friend of mine, I was hoping to get an opinion here.

    Is excluding information really lying? I think not. Lying is simply telling falsehood. However not telling something is not lying, because you dont give false information. No information is no information. Its not lying. Not giving information that you know the subject you are speaking to would want is deception, but it is not lying. If someone asks me "Are there crocodiles in the water?" and I know the context is that the person wants to take a bath, it is STILL NOT LYING if I say "No" and the person jumps in only to be eaten by piranahs.


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    I wouldn't apply the word "lie" to an omission of fact. It could be perceived as deceit depending upon whether or not you omitted facts in malice such as in your example.


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    Excluding information is lying because you actively remove information when you tell something to someone. Example: Not telling that there's crocodile in the pond is lying because your natural respond is to say "yes/no" but you choose not to respond because you have special interest to not do so. -ie: people do not say "I don't know" (but rather keep silent or tell lies) when they don't know stuff because they have the slightest intention to deceive people (to make them not look bad for not knowing).
    Last edited by msafwan; August 11th, 2012 at 11:03 PM.
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    The thing is, deception can be worse than lieing.

    I suppose lieing is active deception... withholding important info is passive deception... both are pretty ill.
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    It's called a lie of omission--which you could define something like deliberately withholding important information.
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    i refuse to answer on the grounds that it might tend to ....
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  8. #7  
    Forum Ph.D. Raziell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    It's called a lie of omission--which you could define something like deliberately withholding important information.
    English not my native hmmm... how to put it :S

    Is this included in the terminology of a lie on a literary level? Or just in juridical science and special context?
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  9. #8  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    It's called a lie of omission--which you could define something like deliberately withholding important information.
    English not my native hmmm... how to put it :S

    Is this included in the terminology of a lie on a literary level? Or just in juridical science and special context?
    not sure--"lie'
    was known as a "sin of omission"
    as/re webster's unabridged: a "lie is anything that is intended to give a false impression"
    so if you said "no crocodiles", and your intent was to mislead, then it is a lie.
    saying nothing may be a sin, but doesn't seem to fit the criteria for "lie"
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    I personally don't think it is. Politicians do it all the time, it's called informing people on a need to know basis. Telling everything without first asking yourself "does this person really need to know this?" is plainly stupid and can get you in trouble in most job related situations.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oxycodone View Post
    I personally don't think it is. Politicians do it all the time, it's called informing people on a need to know basis. Telling everything without first asking yourself "does this person really need to know this?" is plainly stupid and can get you in trouble in most job related situations.
    Politicians do what all the time? Lie? They don't surely?
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  12. #11  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    It's called a lie of omission--which you could define something like deliberately withholding important information.
    English not my native hmmm... how to put it :S

    Is this included in the terminology of a lie on a literary level? Or just in juridical science and special context?
    It's a common use of English.
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    Quote Originally Posted by question for you View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Oxycodone View Post
    I personally don't think it is. Politicians do it all the time, it's called informing people on a need to know basis. Telling everything without first asking yourself "does this person really need to know this?" is plainly stupid and can get you in trouble in most job related situations.
    Politicians do what all the time? Lie? They don't surely?
    Imagine your new boss tells you: "My son and I recently moved in from Vancouver, we're still trying to clear things out around...". So if you got a job interview in Vancouver this week-end, are you going to tell your boss: "What a coincidence! I'm going to Vancouver too for a job interview this week-end, how is the city?"? No, you will probably say something like: "What a coincidence! I plan to take my wife there this week-end, how is the city?"

    I don't get what's the problem with omitting details that could get you in trouble? You can confess yourself and not omit anything but you might get fired and fail at life. That's not telling the truth, that's being an idiot lol. These are the rules:

    1) MATRIX ORACLE RULE: Only tell people what they need to hear.
    2) NEED2KNOW RULE: Only inform people on a need to know basis.
    3) INCRIMINATION: Never self-incriminate under any circumstances. Try to act decent instead.

    If you tell the truth, you will fail at life kid! Be aware! I've been with my girlfriend for 7 years now and she has no clue weather I have 20$ in my savings account or if I'm a millionare and is clueless about how much I earn every year and has not seen any of my paychecks, ever! She simply doesn't need to know that, yet.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oxycodone View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by question for you View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Oxycodone View Post
    I personally don't think it is. Politicians do it all the time, it's called informing people on a need to know basis. Telling everything without first asking yourself "does this person really need to know this?" is plainly stupid and can get you in trouble in most job related situations.
    Politicians do what all the time? Lie? They don't surely?
    Imagine your new boss tells you: "My son and I recently moved in from Vancouver, we're still trying to clear things out around...". So if you got a job interview in Vancouver this week-end, are you going to tell your boss: "What a coincidence! I'm going to Vancouver too for a job interview this week-end, how is the city?"? No, you will probably say something like: "What a coincidence! I plan to take my wife there this week-end, how is the city?"

    I don't get what's the problem with omitting details that could get you in trouble? You can confess yourself and not omit anything but you might get fired and fail at life. That's not telling the truth, that's being an idiot lol. These are the rules:

    1) MATRIX ORACLE RULE: Only tell people what they need to hear.
    2) NEED2KNOW RULE: Only inform people on a need to know basis.
    3) INCRIMINATION: Never self-incriminate under any circumstances. Try to act decent instead.

    If you tell the truth, you will fail at life kid! Be aware! I've been with my girlfriend for 7 years now and she has no clue weather I have 20$ in my savings account or if I'm a millionare and is clueless about how much I earn every year and has not seen any of my paychecks, ever! She simply doesn't need to know that, yet.
    I think it's all true. I always think 'ask me no questions and i will tell you no lies'.
    There is a line most people are uncomfortable overstepping for personal gains. Myself i'm not into deceiving people if I don't have to and I beleive the world would be so much better if people had the guts to be honest about everything. This isn't an ideal world though and i'm not perfect. You should remember though that some people win in life and do it honestly, because they don't need to lie. I think if everybody was completely honest we would all win...
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  15. #14  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    It's called a lie of omission--which you could define something like deliberately withholding important information.
    English not my native hmmm... how to put it :S

    Is this included in the terminology of a lie on a literary level? Or just in juridical science and special context?
    It's a common use of English.
    Then the term needs rework imo. Lies should only include giving false information. "Lie of ommision" should be counted as deception. I find it stupid that one can be accused of lying when you choose to give no information over false information.
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  16. #15  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    It's called a lie of omission--which you could define something like deliberately withholding important information.
    English not my native hmmm... how to put it :S

    Is this included in the terminology of a lie on a literary level? Or just in juridical science and special context?
    It's a common use of English.
    Then the term needs rework imo. Lies should only include giving false information. "Lie of ommision" should be counted as deception. I find it stupid that one can be accused of lying when you choose to give no information over false information.
    I think it's a silly 'term' as well.
    I'm pretty sure this would not be considered common english... im just geussing but it seems like a legal term. It's certainly not in common use in my part of the world, fingers crossed it never will be!
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  17. #16  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    It's called a lie of omission--which you could define something like deliberately withholding important information.
    English not my native hmmm... how to put it :S

    Is this included in the terminology of a lie on a literary level? Or just in juridical science and special context?
    It's a common use of English.
    Then the term needs rework imo. Lies should only include giving false information. "Lie of ommision" should be counted as deception. I find it stupid that one can be accused of lying when you choose to give no information over false information.

    Saying nothing can be giving false information, it a form of deceit. And its use is quite ingrained in common usage, with examples from the bible and throughout culture. Lies of omission are not held against you in law when it would implicate oneself, but of course can be considered obstruction when you fail to tell "the whole truth."

    And I find it hard to believe many people don't remember a time, perhaps even as far back as elementary school, being asked to squeal on their friend who did something wrong and punished for not telling because that act of lie by omission was deceitful. Many people might not know what to call it, but they know it's often wrong to withhold information.
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  18. #17  
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    Might I add that deception, causing (someone) to believe that something is not true, can also be achieved by a lie of commission. In fact, that is the entire goal of lying. Lying and deceiving are similar but distinctly different in a subtle way; lies are the substance of a deceptions but not semantically equivalent. A deception describes a goal, to cause someone to believe something that is not true, while a lie is a statement that is not true (Note that a goal is not implied in the definition of a lie). I will explain this in more detail, but, to put it simply: Signals are the substance of lies. Lies are the substance of deceptions.

    It is important to realize what qualifies as a statement. A statement is a communication of facts (supposedly). So, in order to make a statement, one has to communicate. In order to communicate, one has to send a signal or several signals. Language, or "saying" something, is a type of signaling process, but some believe that when one is not saying anything, one is not communicating, and thus not making a statement. However, vegetative signals, tonic signals, and phasic signals are all forms of communication outside of language, which encompass one's presence, body language, clothing, facial expressions, and gestures among many other things. Conversely, communications are also made by the lack of such signals. Here are a couple examples: You are invited to a gathering and deliberately avoid attending; Initially, you expressed genuine interest to go, but you changed your mind because someone whom you do not like will also be attending. When being told to do something, you deliberately show absolutely no reaction to the dictator's presence and commands and act as though nothing had happened at all. The former is a signal that is broadcast by your absence; you told the receiver(s) that you do not like someone to the extent that you are not willing to be in the same place as that person (The act of saying such a thing is an entirely different signal altogether). The latter is a signal broadcast by withholding attention from one who is commanding it, showing that you do not respect this person's authority (Again, while saying such a thing is an entirely different signal altogether). When the receiver trusts that, if one knew the facts, and if one were asked, one would communicate them, one is in a position to lie. When one deliberately omits information, one sends a false signal in the form of silence, gesture, facial expression, and/or language. When one sends a false signal in the form of silence, gesture, facial expression and/or language, one has employed a lie, a statement that is not true, by communicating that one does not know any other facts. Keeping in mind that the subject was, in the first place, inquired upon for the facts, the choice to employ a lie is an attempt at deception. When the inquirer does, in fact, believe the lie, a deception has been achieved.

    In this case, one is put in a position to either tell a truth or a lie. The choice made, to tell a lie, has a goal behind it, to cause the receiver to believe a lie in lieu of the truth since the situation calls for either one or the other. The lie is used as a tool in order to achieve a deception. It should be clear that a lie and a deception are not semantically the same thing.

    I offer, here, a scenario in which one might be considered a liar by omission without being deceptive. Three friends, X, Y and Z, hang out frequently. X and Z are dating, but Z is unfaithful. Y knows this, but Z is unaware of his knowledge. If Y proactively reveals Z's infidelity to X, Y compromises his friendship with Z (and possibly X). Y also knows that if X finds out about Z's infidelity by some other means and also finds out that Y knew about it beforehand and didn't say anything, then his friendship with X is compromised. Y is inclined, at first, to confront Z about the affair in order to suggest that Z come forward to X; Y would be sharing his knowledge with Z and merely stating an obvious moral value that Z has already considered but has chosen not to follow, which Z may or may not act on after Y's entreaty. Y also considers that Z, acting in self interest, may deny the affair and subsequentially become hostile toward Y since Y has now taken up an opposing side. This would put Y in an extremely vulnerable position. If Y were to speak up at any point, he could possibly subject at least one relationship to certain doom. So, Y figures that the safer bet is to say nothing about it. For, if X never finds out, or if X finds out but neither X nor Z bring Y into the matter at all neither X nor Z ever finds out about Y's knowledge, Y maintains his friendship with both X and Z. Suppose now that X becomes aware of Z's affair by some other means, but X and Z remain together and mend their relationship. Y was never brought into the matter, and all three remain close.

    What has Y done? He certainly knew about the affair, but he chose to do nothing about it. By the lack of signals of knowledge, Y made a continuous false statement about his knowledge of the affair. Thus, Y was lying by omission of the facts he knew to be true. However, it is important to note that no one ever inquired upon Y. The goal here was not to make someone believe that he knew nothing about it. X was completely oblivious, with no capacity for a belief about Y's knowledge of the affair, and Z already believed that Y knew nothing about it and never questioned him about it. The actual goal was to lay low, to stay out of the matter entirely. Thus, Y has lied but has not deceived. If anyone had inquired upon Y, and Y continued to lie, whether by commission or omission or both, only then would Y have engaged in deception.
    Last edited by TheDr.Spo; August 16th, 2012 at 03:21 AM. Reason: spelling corrections
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  19. #18  
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    Whoa, the level of sociology just hit the sky. I prefer short answers though. On the other hand i agree with your assumption that a lie, is appearant when you give someone an idea by telling something, from where you think he probably misinterpreted your statement.

    If you have knowledge about something, you should tell them if it fits the picture.

    I ordered a fish in a restaurant a few years ago, had no knowledge about this particular dish, and i was hoping to like it. I usually eat salmon, or tuna as a fish, so i simply started cutting with my knife, and thought it was crunchy, and i took a bite... Though what i didn't know was that there was a fishbone inside it. Not just a little bit, but the whole thing was fishbone. When i ate it, i nearly choked to death. My opinion was, that if the one who gave me the fish, or the one who took my order, didn't know i know anything about the fish didn't warn me on purpose, that it was a lie. Though if they thought i knew about it, or it simply slipped their mind, it would not be a lie.

    Something in my opinion is a lie, when the one saying it, knows it's not true, or deliberately withholding information.

    A new girlfriend not telling you how many guys she has been with.. While you asked for it though, is not a lie. As long as she did not make up any story around it stating something, that she knows, will make you think it's much less then it is.
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