Quotation by Sissela Bok

White lies are at the other end of the spectrum of deception from lies in a serious crisis. They are the most common and the most trivial forms that duplicity can take. The fact that they are so common provides their protective coloring. And their very triviality, when compared to more threatening lies, makes it seem unnecessary or even absurd to condemn them. Some consider all well-intentioned lies, however momentous, to be white; I shall adhere to the narrower usage: a white lie, in this sense, is a falsehood not meant to injure anyone, and of little moral import.
Sissela Bok (b. 1934), Swedish–born U.S. philosopher, educator. Lying: Moral Choice in Public and Private Life, ch. 5, Random House (1979).
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