Police Lying to Suspects
Webcast Q&A: 31 July 2011, Question 4
I answered a question on police lying to suspects on 31 July 2011. You can listen to or download the podcast of just this question below – or check out the whole episode of Philosophy in Action Radio.
Should the police lie to suspects in the course of an investigation? Police routinely do this, usually in order to trick people into admitting something or revealing information they would normally not reveal. Note that the people they lie to may not have been convicted of any crime, and are merely "persons of interest" or suspects. Is this routine constant lying moral? What do you think it does to the policeman's character after many years?
My Answer, In Brief: To suppose that the police must never misrepresent the facts in a criminal investigation is wrong – and rationalistic. However, precisely because the overriding goal must be the discovery of the truth about the crime, there are and ought to be limits about what the police can lie about.
- Duration: 16:42
- Download: MP3 Segment (5.8 MB)
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- NoodleFood: Police Interrogation
- Mental Illness, Police Interrogations, and the Potential for False Confession (PDF) in Law & Psychiatry by Allison D. Redlich, Ph.D.
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About Philosophy in Action
I'm Dr. Diana Brickell (formerly Diana Hsieh). I'm a philosopher, and I've long specialized in the application of rational principles to the challenges of real life. I completed my Ph.D in philosophy from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2009. I retired from work as a public intellectual in 2015.
From September 2009 to September 2015, I produced a radio show and podcast, Philosophy in Action Radio. In the primary show, my co-host Greg Perkins and I answered questions applying rational principles to the challenges of real life. We broadcast live over the internet on Sunday mornings.
My first book, Responsibility & Luck: A Defense of Praise and Blame, can be purchased in paperback and Kindle. The book defends the justice of moral praise and blame of persons using an Aristotelian theory of moral responsibility, thereby refuting Thomas Nagel's "problem of moral luck." My second book (and online course), Explore Atlas Shrugged, is a fantastic resource for anyone wishing to study Ayn Rand's epic novel in depth.
I can be reached via e-mail to [email protected].