Elspeth Barker

Sweet Deception

Love and Lies: And Why You Can’t Have One Without the Other

By Clancy Martin

Harvill Secker 272pp £12.99 order from our bookshop

Clancy Martin, professor of philosophy at the University of Missouri, describes Love and Lies as a compound of memoir, self-psychoanalysis, philosophical argument, literary criticism and science, ‘because much of the most interesting recent research on deception is being done in experiments and laboratories’. His essential purpose is to reveal the value of self-deception and deception in loving relationships. ‘I am arguing in defence of lies in the service of truth. Let’s be honest about our lying. Then we will be better able to love.’ The enemy of such creative relationships is the unquestioned assumption that ‘genuine love depends on absolute truthfulness’.

Initially, Martin examines philosophical attitudes to deception and its justifications,

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