I’ve previously argued extensively that there is no moral realm.
Now, consider the following 2 questions.
- What is morally wrong with lying if there is no morality?
- What is wrong with lying if there is no morality?
I get asked question #2 quite often, and upon further interaction, usually I discover the questioner is actually asking questions #1.
The answer to questions #1?
Nothing. You can’t have moral fact where there is no moral realm in which those moral facts can exist. Nothing surprising here.
The answer to question #2?
That will depend on your goals.
If you intend to live honorably in a society that values honesty, chronic lying is the wrong way to accomplish this. If you hope for others to believe you in the future, you’d be misguided if you thought lying would be consistent with that hope. If you make a habit of lying, you’ll discover the response will be anger, mistrust, and marginalization. Most people consider lying shameful, a useful emotion that maintains social cohesion and advances most personal goals. Very few thriving individuals have achieved their happiness with lies.
However, if you wish to protect a child from a criminal seeking to harm the child, then telling the truth about the whereabouts of the child to that criminal is definitely wrong.
“Wrong” can refer to the notion that something is morally wrong, and “wrong” can refer to the pragmatic mistake of acting in a way inconstant with your goals. I’ve argued in other posts that moral wrongness is impossible in our universe which is absent a moral realm.
So the word “wrong” obviously has several meaning. It is there for the equivocation for those who consider intentional equivocation a noble way to further their goals. I hope my readers are not of this shameful mendacious mindset.