Thursday, July 15, 2010

What is Thomas L. Carson reading?

The current featured contributor at Writers Read: Thomas L. Carson, author of Value and the Good Life, The Status of Morality, and the newly released Lying and Deception, and is the co-editor of Morality and the Good Life and Moral Relativism.

His entry begins:
During the last month I read Ronald White’s biography of Lincoln, A. Lincoln, Henry Lewis Gates’s, Lincoln on Race and Slavery, and the Library of America collection of Lincoln ’s speeches and writings. I am preparing to give a series of public lectures on Lincoln’s Ethics at my alma mater, Saint Olaf College, in 2011. These lectures will combine historical biography and moral philosophy. I am combining my work in philosophy with my lifelong interest in history. The last few chapters of Lying and Deception also...[read on]
About Lying and Deception, from the publisher:
Thomas Carson offers the most comprehensive and up-to-date investigation of moral and conceptual questions about lying and deception. Part I addresses conceptual questions and offers definitions of lying, deception, and related concepts such as withholding information, "keeping someone in the dark," and "half truths." Part II deals with questions in ethical theory. Carson argues that standard debates about lying and deception between act-utilitarians and their critics are inconclusive because they rest on appeals to disputed moral intuitions. He defends a version of the golden rule and a theory of moral reasoning. His theory implies that there is a moral presumption against lying and deception that causes harm -- a presumption at least as strong as that endorsed by act-utilitarianism. He uses this theory to justify his claims about the issues he addresses in Part III: deception and withholding information in sales, deception in advertising, bluffing in negotiations, the duties of professionals to inform clients, lying and deception by leaders as a pretext for fighting wars (with special attention to the case of Bush and Cheney), and lying and deception about history (with special attention to the Holocaust), and cases of distorting the historical record by telling half-truths. The book concludes with a qualified defence of the view that honesty is a virtue.
See Thomas L. Carson's Loyola University webpage for more information about him and to see a list of some of his favorite books.

Learn more about Lying and Deception at the Oxford University Press website.

Writers Read: Thomas L. Carson.

--Marshal Zeringue