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Lying to our children

Joseph Millum (University of St. Andrews)


Most parents lie to their children. They do it for fun, as a method of behavior control, and to protect children from what they consider to be dangerous truths. At the same time, most parents bring their children up with the message that honesty is a virtue and that lying is usually wrong. How should our practice and our preaching be reconciled? In this talk, I will examine the ethics of parental lying. I will argue that lying to one’s child is more rarely justified than is commonly thought, and delineate the circumstances in which it can be justified.




This event will be broadcast live from Senate House via Zoom. If you choose to attend in person please adhere to the University of London guidance to wear face coverings at all times while in the building and maintain social distancing whenever possible. 

For those who intend to join virtually the link to the zoom meeting will be emailed to you upon registration. 


The Institute of Philosophy hosts a regular workshop series entitled ‘The Practical, the Political, and the Ethical’. The series was created in 2015 by Véronique Munoz-Dardé (UCL) and Hallvard Lillehammer (Birkbeck) in order to discuss work in progress from visiting speakers. This year the series is convened by Mollie Gerver (Essex) and Jonathan Gingerich (KCL).  Talks are normally 50 minutes (no pre-circulation of the paper), followed by discussion. All are welcome.