Deception can take many forms, but not all acts of deception are lies. A person in a hurry might pretend not to notice an acquaintance passing by on the street. A polite host might not acknowledge that a guest has said something stupid. When asked ‘How are you?’, most of us reflexively say that we are well, understanding the question to be merely a greeting, rather than an invitation to discuss our career disappointments, our marital troubles, or the condition of our bowels. Omissions of this kind can be forms of deception, but they are not quite lies. We may skirt the truth at such moments, but we do not deliberately manufacture falsehood or conceal important facts to the detriment of others. To lie is to intentionally mislead others when they expect honest communication.
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