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Ethical dilemma: Would you lie? - Sarah Stroud

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  • TEDEd Animation

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Your plan to set up your friend Carey with your acquaintance Emerson is finally coming together. You’ve made them a dinner reservation, but suddenly realize that there's a problem: Carey is always late. You really want this relationship to work— what if you told Carey dinner was at 6 instead of 6:30, so they arrived on time? Is it okay to lie? Sarah Stroud explores this classic ethical dilemma.

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TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Sarah Stroud
  • Director Avi Ofer
  • Narrator Pen-Pen Chen
  • Music Jarrett Farkas
  • Sound Designer and Mixer Weston Fonger
  • Director of Production Gerta Xhelo
  • Producer Anna Bechtol
  • Associate Producer Sazia Afrin
  • Editorial Director Alex Rosenthal
  • Editorial Producer Dan Kwartler
  • See more creators
Additional Resources for you to Explore
The ethics of lying has been the subject of centuries of debate (with many philosophers disagreeing on what even constitutes a lie). While some schools of thought, like Kantian deontology, take a hard line against lying of all kinds, others, like the utilitarianism of  John Stuart Mill, find lying to be ethical under appropriate circumstances. It's a moral conundrum that affects not only how we conduct ourselves in interpersonal relationships, but also impacts our lives on a broader societal level. Doctors debate whether it's permissible to lie if the patient stands to benefit. Legal scholars similarly debate whether paternalistic laws are acceptable if they serve the common good.

Several cases that draw on these questions were provided to students taking part in the National High School Ethics Bowl program, produced by the Parr Center for Ethics at UNC-Chapel Hill. They should offer a good basis for discussion, either among peers or in the classroom.

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About TED-Ed Animations

TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Sarah Stroud
  • Director Avi Ofer
  • Narrator Pen-Pen Chen
  • Music Jarrett Farkas
  • Sound Designer and Mixer Weston Fonger
  • Director of Production Gerta Xhelo
  • Producer Anna Bechtol
  • Associate Producer Sazia Afrin
  • Editorial Director Alex Rosenthal
  • Editorial Producer Dan Kwartler
  • See more creators

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