Sissela Bok, lecturer on medical ethics at the Medical School, will speak about "the ethical dimensions of truthfulness and lying" in the four lectures she will deliver March 1, 2, 8 and 9 to benefit the Radcliffe Seminars Grant-In-Aid fund.
The series of lectures, entitled "On Telling The Truth," will attempt to provide the audience with an ethical framework with which to resolve individual conflicts involving decisions whether or not to tell the truth, Bok said.
While she personally believes there are "very, very few occasions when lying is justified," Bok said the lectures will not aim to define when lying is appropriate, but only to give the listener a personal basis for making decisions of that kind.
Bok said she will first present a general theoretical background, and in subsequent lectures focus on the issue of truth-telling in such fields as medicine, law, politics, journalism and family relations.
The series anticipates a book Bok has written on the subject that she said yesterday will be published in April. The book's tentative title is "Lying: Moral Choice in Public and Private Life."
Bok is the second speaker this school year in the Radcliffe Seminars Distinguished Lecture series. John Kenneth Galbraith, Warburg Professor of Economics Emeritus, gave a series of lectures this fall on poverty to benefit the Grant-In-Aid fund, which awards scholarships for the Radcliffe Seminars.