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The Varnished Truth

The Varnished Truth
Author: David Nyberg
ISBN 13: 9780226610528
ISBN 10: 226610527
Edition: 1
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication Date: 1995-01-01
Format: Paperback
Pages: 256
List Price: $20.00

Everyone says that lying is wrong. But when we say that lying is bad and hurtful and that we would never intentionally tell a lie, are we really deceiving anyone? In this wise and insightful book, David Nyberg exposes the tacit truth underneath our collective pretense and reveals that an occasional lie can be helpful, healthy, creative, and, in some situations, even downright moral.

The Varnished Truth takes us beyond philosophical speculation and clinical analysis to give us a sense of what it really means to tell the truth. As Nyberg lays out the complexities involved in leading a morally decent life, he compels us to see the spectrum of alternatives to telling the truth and telling a clear-cut lie.


Through familiar examples, Nyberg explores the purposes deception serves, from the social kindness of the white lie to the political ends of diplomacy to the avoidance of pain or unpleasantness. He looks at the lies we tell ourselves as well, and demonstrates that self- deception is a necessary function of mental health, one of the mind's weapons against stress and uncertainty. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)