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Speech MattersOn Lying, Morality, and the Law$
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Seana Valentine Shiffrin

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780691157023

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691157023.001.0001

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Accommodation, Equality, and the Liar

Accommodation, Equality, and the Liar

(p.157) Chapter Five Accommodation, Equality, and the Liar
Speech Matters

Seana Valentine Shiffrin

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines the regulation of autobiographical lies told outside circumstances of heightened testimonial importance in relation to the political values of equality and an under-theorized form of accommodation. It considers the range of values encapsulated by our practices of accommodation to emphasize the undernoticed social and legal phenomenon of accommodating moral wrongs. It argues that although legal regulation of some autobiographical lies may not offend freedom of speech, it may offend equality. The chapter starts its argument for legal accommodation of moral imperfection with some observations about accommodation within interpersonal morality. It then explains the distinction between the status of being a moral equal and being a political equal. It also presents some guidelines for thinking about when to accommodate moral failure and concludes that legal accommodation of autobiographical lies falls within those guidelines.

Keywords:   autobiographical lies, equality, accommodation, moral wrongs, freedom of speech, moral imperfection, morality, moral failure

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