Is it immoral for a person to write lies on his/her resume? This question poses many questions in it’s self. How fictitious is the lie, what are you lying about, what could be the consequences of this lie and whom and how will this lie affect the people involved? How would John Stuart Mill answer this question?
Mill’s general position seem to be that one should do what will produce the most happiness, pleasure and with the absence of pain. With this in mind for one to falsify their resume will produce the greater happiness to that person, and family. If this means to exaggerate the truth a little so be it. I feel Mill’s view would be to exaggerate, but not to over exaggerate so that when you do get the job you will not be able to perform the tasks you were hired to do. Consequently causing pain and harm to the company and to your self and family by ruining you reputation. This would not follow with Mill’s Principal of Utility. Mill also believed that although your intentions are immoral that is not the underlying point, according to Mill it is the consequences of ones actions that make an action immoral. According to Mill it is consequences of our actions contribute greatly to the moral vale of the action at hand. And since the consequences are not bad if you receive the job and can perform the tasks you were hired to do. It follows that the action will not be immoral due to the consequences. Witch is the complete opposite of Kant’s moral Philosophy.
This all follows from Mill’s General Principal that it is not the intentions being good or bad but the ability to produce good consequences from that action. And Mill’s Principal of Utility. Referring to Mill’s Greatest Happiness Principal/ Principal of Utility, “Actions are right in proportion as they tend to produce the greatest balance of pleasure over pain for the largest number of people, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness.” Mill also felt that all moral judgments can be derived from the greatest happiness principal and that people seek pleasure and avoid pain. This he felt is how most live. According to Mill morality is about producing good consequences, not having good intentions, we should do what ever will bring the most benefit to all humanity. Also that our conduct is right or wrong because of the propensity to produce good or bad consequences for the people whom are affected by it. Mill’s moral philosophy was a version of the utilitarian theory. In witch he believed that righteous actions are those actions that produce the greatest happiness to the largest number of people, following from his Principal of Utility.
Since Mill believes that it is not the intention of an action and it is the ability for the action to produce favorable consequences. It follows that for some one to exaggerate on their resume is morally ok. As with Mills Principal of utility, witch is saying if the action produces the greatest amount of happiness to the most people with the least amount of pain that to is morally ok when compared with the utilitarian theory. It seems to that Mill is trying to say that if more than one-person benefits from what might be considered an immoral action, also that the least amount of pain is cause then that action can be consider morally ok as long as the consequences of that action are favorable. Then that action is permissible. Today in this world that would not work.
Kant and Mill appear to have to different views on this subject. Mill being a utilitarian believes that do what will produce the greatest good for the greatest number of people and that it is not the intent of the action that makes that action immoral but the consequence of that action. Kant seems to be against this utilitarian theory. Kant feels to pursue an act just for happiness is no more moral than acting on greed and selfishness. Kant furthermore felt that to act on utilitarian theory actually devalues that individual acting in that manner. Therefore allowing the utilitarian way to motivate our actions we are valuing one persons welfare and interest in terms of what good they can be used for. Kant appears to say that one should do un to other as they would do un to you, The Golden Rule. Kant apparently felt the complete opposite of Mill. Evidently Kant believes it is not the outcome of that action that gives it is moral worth but the motive behind the action. “Thus the moral worth of an action does not lie in the effect expected from it nor in any principal of action that needs to borrow its motive from the expected effect.” Kant’s moral theory is actions are morally right in the goodness of the actions motives. A moral action to Kant are actions witch reason leads and not follows also were an individual inclination to act in accordance with duty overcome that persons self interest for acting this way. Therefore lying on your resume would be immoral to Kant. Due to the fact your lie could be the reason you receive the job and this would follow from the lie on your resume. Also that it is not your duty to lie. Kant’s idea on actions done out of duty is that it does not matter the intent or the outcome it is your duty therefore you must tell the
“If the action is done from duty and in that case every material principal is take away from it.” According to Kant freedom plays crucial roles in ethics due to the possibility of moral judgments are taken from ethics. And without the concept of freedom, reason cannot act and that theoretical reason cannot demonstrate freedom but practical reason is used for the purpose of our actions.
All of this is an outlay to Kant’s Categorical Imperative; Witch is “Act only according to that maxim by which you can at the same time will that it should become universal law.” The Categorical Imperative demands that the action be performed for that actions own sake. Referring this to the question, Is it immoral for a person to write lies on his/her resume? The maxim could be when you need a job, it’s ok to lie on you resume, but if you apply this maxim to universality test it is clear that if everyone lied on there resume no employers would ever receive competent help and business would not get done. Kant believe what we must do in a moral situation of choice is to act according to a maxim that we would will everyone to act according to. Meaning that in a situation of morality act as how you think others would act if they were in your situation. When you lie Kant described it as “you are taking an exception to the general rule that says everyone should tell the truth and believe that what you are saying is true. When you lie, you do not thereby will that everyone else lie and not believe that what you are saying is true, because in this case your lie would never work to get what you want.” Kant believed humans have value only under certain conditions, and this value can be used for good or for evil. Therefore if everyone were to go around lying the world would be a horrible place to live.
Kant also had a concept of good will witch explains why actions do not depend on the out come. Witch Kant says that will is acting in accord with law. Therefore for one to tell a lie is not in accord with law.
How would I answer this question, Is it immoral for a person to write lies on his/her resume? Before I wrote this paper my view on the subject of lying was a little different than it is now. As for the two philosophers I agree with both of their grounding on morals and ethics in some way or another. Although I feel in some situations that lying may be permissible and is needed. When one chooses to lie they should whey out the options and the consequences of their action. Then deciding whether that lie will produce good or bad consequences. Also what will the out come of that lie be, good, bad. This type of situation will agree with Mill’s Principal of Utility, “Actions are right in proportion as they tend to produce the greatest balance of pleasure over pain for the largest number of people, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness”. Therefore if the lie would produce good consequences for the most people why not tell a lie. I agree in some cases with Mill’s Principal of Utility. I feel there are exception to this principal. For instance if some one were to plant a bomb in an arena filled with people. Instead of the bomb killing everyone there was a big firework show right when the home team won and everyone was cheering and happy. Just because this made everyone happy does not make this right. This person deserves to be locked up for life not praised. This is why Mill’s philosophy only works in some cases.
Kant’s Categorical Imperative; Witch is (“Act only according to that maxim by which you can at the same time will that it should become universal law”) also makes a good point. I would not like everyone to go around lying. The world would be a horrible place to live. Kant’s Categorical Imperative and philosophy is more logical than Mill’s philosophy. Kant established that it is not the out come of the action but the intent of it. My thought on the whole situation is lying is wrong but in some situations is ok. In some situations I would exaggerate on my resume if I had some grounding behind that exaggeration. For example if I said I took a few more computer classes than I actually did that would be ok to me considering the fact that I know a lot about computers and have a lot of experience working them. This situation would be more morally correct than telling an out right lie. In some situations when people lie they are lying to protect them selves from pain or trouble. This situation also has double standard in that it depends on the action that you are lying about. For some one to cheat on their spouse and then lie out right to them is not right to me. That is I situation were I would not lie, I would not cheat in the first place anyway. In my view I would have to be put in that situation to be the judge of morality that would constitutes lying. I can not judge a situation that I am not in.
As for lying on my resume yes and no. Yes I would exaggerate but not out right lie. This would also depend on how bad I needed that job and what I felt the consequences of this lie might be. In the end of it all I still can not make this moral judgment without being in the situation my self. For me to say no I would not lie would be a lie it’s self because I am not too sure. I know to some degree thought that I would exaggerate the truth a little to somewhat beef up my resume. To me out right lies depends on the situation, reason and the extent of this lie.