On the Supposed Duty of Truthfulness: Kant on Lying in Self-Defense

David Sussman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter begins by admitting how strongly Kant does seem to denounce lying and, indeed, self-deception. It further elaborates Kant's attacks on lying, including his famous claim that truthfulness is an unconditional duty, and goes on to argue that although the conclusions of Kant's "A Supposed Right to Lie" are "wildly implausible", they do have substantial motivation within Kant's practical philosophy. For Kant, this chapter argues, defensive lies presuppose a principle at odds with the "quasi-contractual commitments" that are the "necessary preconditions of any social order".

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Philosophy of Deception
EditorsClancy Martin
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780199852444
ISBN (Print)9780195327939
StatePublished - Jul 10 2009


  • Defensive lies
  • Kant
  • Lying
  • Self-defense
  • Social order
  • Truthfulness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)


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