In his book Political Ethics and Public Oce, Dennis Thompson refers to deception, secrecy, and Manipulation as ‘vices of concealment’ that prevent citizens from reaching a collective judgment about the other wrongs of government, including ‘the vices of violence.’ In her presentation, Sissela Bok will consider the role that concealment plays in deceptive government practices and the ways in which these practices interact with ignorance and self-deception so as greatly to magnify the damage from natural disasters, epidemics, and wars.
Sissela Bok was born in Sweden and educated in Switzerland and France before coming to the United States. She received her B.A. and M.A. in psychology at the George Washington University in 1957 and 1958, and her Ph.D. in philosophy at Harvard University in 1970. Formerly a Professor of Philosophy at Brandeis University, Sissela Bok is currently a Senior Visiting Fellow at the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies. Sissela Bok has published widely on the ethics of lying, secrecy, and euthanasia as well as on happiness and violence. Her many publications include: Lying: Moral Choice in Private and Public Life (1978); Secrets: On the Ethics of Concealment and Revelation (1982, 1989); Common Values (1996); and Mayhem: Violence as Public Entertainment (1998). She is currently working on a book on deceit.