Wednesday 01 July 2015

The Ethics Of Hypocrisy

In recent months, several notable public figures who are outspoken defenders of ethics and morality have themselves been found guilty of the very same morally corrupt behavior against which they have been preaching publicly. Though rampant nowadays in an age when anyone and everyone can proclaim to be a public moralist under false pretense, hypocrisy as a human fallacy has been practiced for as long as philosophers have debated on the ontology and epistemology of the human condition. Samuel Johnson’s condemnation of hypocrisy in The Rambler in 1750 famously characterized hypocrites as individuals who cowardly express “zeal” for certain desirable “virtues” which they neglect to practice and who falsely claim to have conquered their own “passions” without having earned their true “victory”. While the psychological roots from which behaviors of hypocrisy stem are still up for debate, modern studies in psychology have theorized hypocrisy to be rooted in errors in human judgment and decision making that lead to self-serving bias and other attributes of self-deception. Further, individuals who are in power are most prone to the fallacy of hypocrisy, as they are easily able to position themselves on moral high ground to challenge the beliefs and values of others but are simultaneously quick to protect their own moral stance from ever being judged. Worst yet, hypocrites undermine the effort of truly moral leaders to be recognized and inspire, forever sinking humanity into a proverbial state of moral low ground and corrupted ethics.

By Philip Jong • At 12:01 AM • Under Column • Under Life • Under World
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