Hypocrisy

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From Political Hypocrisy: The Mask of Power, from Hobbes to Orwell and Beyond by David Runciman

Hypocrisy is a subject that lends itself to maxims--Rochefoucauld's Maxims is sometimes taken to be the definitive text on the subject--and it is to maxims that we often look to discover the timeless truth about what it is for a politician to dissemble and deceive. Truths tend to look more timeless when they come in neat little packages. But these maxims, almost by definition, are taken out of context (Rochefoucauld's book, for example, is about French courtly hypocrisy and its relationship to Jansenist philosophy). Of course, context isn't everything, and there may be times when philosophers wish to abstract away from the circumstances in which ideas were first generated. (p.14)



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