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10.1017/S0031819106317029Kant and Maria von Herbert: Reticence vs. Deception

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 September 2006


This article argues for a distinction between reticence and lying on the basis of what Kant says about reticence in his correspondence with Maria von Herbert and in his other ethical writings, and defends this distinction against the objections of Rae Langton (‘Duty and Desolation’, Philosophy 67, No. 262 (October 1992), 481–505). Lying is necessarily deceptive, whereas reticence is not necessarily deceptive. Allowing another person to remain ignorant of some matter is a form of reticence that is not deceptive. This form of reticence may be ethically permissible.

Research Article
2006 The Royal Institute of Philosophy

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