52 Am. J. Juris. 273 (2007)
Lying: The Integrity Approach

handle is hein.journals/ajj52 and id is 275 raw text is: LYING: THE INTEGRITY APPROACH

CHRISTOPHER TOLLEFSEN
I. INTRODUCTION
Proponents of the so-called New Natural Law Theory--notably, Germain
Grisez, John Finnis, Joseph Boyle, and others-hold that the intentional
killing by one human person of another is always wrong. This principle is
exceptionless, thus departing from consequentialist, Kantian, and even
classical Thomistic approaches to the ethics of killing. It is a rigorous view,
yet one that follows from the recognition that human life is a basic and
irreducible good for all human persons, and the recognition that all human
beings are persons. That good thus cannot be weighed against losses to it or
other goods as in consequentialist analysis. Nor can the condition of
immunity from intentional attack on that good in one's person be lost by
wrongful actions as in Kantian or classical Thomistic analysis. Nor, finally,
is it the case that those in public office are immune from the restriction on
intentional killing, as has been held within much of the Christian tradition. On
the ethics of killing, the New Natural Law theorists are radical.
They are equally absolutist, but perhaps less radical, when it comes to the
ethics of lying. For while there is a strand of thought within the Christian
tradition that holds lying to be permissible under some circumstances,2 the
dominant view seems to have been set by Augustine and Aquinas, for whom
lying is always and everywhere wrong, regardless of who is doing the lying,
or to whom they are lying.3 The New Natural Law theorists thus seem solidly
1. See Germain G. Grisez, Towards a Consistent Natural-Law Ethics of Killing,
American Journal of Jurisprudence 15 (1970) 64-96; Joseph M. Boyle, Sanctity of Life and
Suicide: Tensions and Developments Within Common Morality, in Suicide and Euthanasia,
ed. Baruch A. Brody, 221-250 (Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1989); E. Christian
Brugger, Capital Punishment and Roman Catholic Moral Tradition (Notre Dame, IN:
University of Notre Dame Press, 2003).
2. See Boniface Ramsey, O.P., Two Traditions on Lying and Deception in the Ancient
Church, The Thomist 48 (1985) 515-531; H. Tristram Engelhardt, The Foundations of
Christian Bioethics (Lisse, The Netherlands: Swets and Zeitlanger, 2000), 289.
3. For discussion of both Augustine and Aquinas on lying, see Joseph Boyle, The
Absolute Prohibition of Lying and the Origins of the Casuistry of Mental Reservation:
Augustinian Arguments and Thomistic Developments, TheAmerican Journal ofJurisprudence
44 (1999) 43-65.

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