The purpose of this assignment is two-fold:
1. To help you understand the relationship between secrecy, lying and confidentiality.
2. To enable you to expand your ability to detect when lies are covering secrets.
Through the lecture on secrecy and revelation and accompanying readings, we have seen how secrecy, confidentiality and lying interrelate. Each of these serves the others and seldom does one stand alone in our handling or understanding of information. We know that secrecy protects lies, that lies protect secrecy and that lies and secrecy protect the prima facia duties under confidentiality agreements. All of these linkages bring into question how we receive and send information and, more important, how we interpret information from sources that are unknown or that come from distant parts of the world. The integrity of information often is compromised in each exchange, with less and less credibility associated with its factual representations. ASSIGNMENT/ During the next few days, think about a situation in your life in which you felt compelled to lie to keep a secret or protect a person to whom you promised confidentiality. This might be a situation in school, in a relationship, in a family environment – or, perhaps, at work. Review the variables and characteristics covered in the lecture and readings and apply them to this case. Analyze that past situation that shows your understanding of the important intersections of secrecy, lying and confidentiality. The essay should be analytical, not descriptive. Don’t summarize what happened, analyze the events by relating them to theme of this unit: secrets and lies. The details should support your analysis and answer these questions: ● Did you feel a sense of loyalty, guilt or anxiety while keeping the secret? ● Were you angry or feeling guilty at having to lie or otherwise act contrary to your moral code to protect the secret? ● If the experience empowered you, the other person, or both of you, how did it change the relationship? ● If others tried to penetrate the secret, what was your response? Do you think the person trying to penetrate the secret had a desire to know, gain control, feel superior, or be intimate? When writing, incorporate these elements from the lecture and readings as they relate to your story: ● A secret does not require a lie. ● People keep a secret from others to protect their personal space, name, thoughts, and all aspects of their identity ● People keep a confidentiality out of a prima facie duty and to show loyalty to a peer such as a close friend or relative ● Duties to others such as parents or close friends may compete with a duty to keep a secret ● Keeping a confidentiality can put a tremendous burden on a person ● A secret can hurt people whether intended or not ● Secrets have inherent dangers ● Penetrating secrets can empower people by giving them leverage over those keeping the secrets Remember, we are asking you to blog your analysis. We are NOT asking you to breach any current confidences or to put into jeopardy sensitive personal information. Please be certain that your story is one that no longer requires secrecy or lies to sustain it. Be aware that your assignment will be posted on Canvas, which is available to your classmates and to anyone stumbling onto the site from the Internet. i
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