On the Impermissibility of Telling Misleading Truths in Kantian Ethics


Sandel (2009) has recently revisited the issue of the moral permissibility of telling misleading truths in a Kantian ethical framework. His defense of its permissibility relies on assimilating it to simple truth telling, and discounting its relationship with simple lying. This article presents a refutation of Sandel’s case. It is argued that comparison of misleading truths with telling truths or lies is inconclusive. Instead, comparison with telling of leading truths is appropriate. With this comparison in view, it is clear that telling misleading truths is not consistent with the Categorical Imperative, meaning that they are not morally permissible from a Kantian perspective.

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Shelley, C. (2012). On the Impermissibility of Telling Misleading Truths in Kantian Ethics. Open Journal of Philosophy, 2, 89-91. doi: 10.4236/ojpp.2012.22013.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Herman, B. (1993). The practice of moral judgment. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
[2] Sandel, M. (2009). Justice: What’s the right thing to do. New York, NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

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