definition of honesty

The honesty It is a value or quality of human beings that has a close relationship with the principles of truth and justice and with moral integrity. An honest person is one who always tries to put the truth first in his thoughts, expressions and actions. Thus, this quality not only has to do with the relationship of an individual with another or others or with the world, but it can also be said that a subject is honest with himself when he has a significant degree of self-awareness and is consistent with what he thinks. . The opposite of honesty would be dishonesty, a practice that is commonly repudiated in contemporary societies, since it is associated with hypocrisy, corruption, crime and lack of ethics.

Through the history of philosophy, honesty has long been studied by different thinkers. For example, Socrates dedicated himself to investigating its meaning and to inquire about what this quality really is. Later, philosophers like Immanuel Kant would try to compose a series of general ethical principles that included honest behavior among them. Another philosopher, Confucius, distinguished different levels of honesty for his ethics: and, according to their degree of depth, he called them Li, Yi and Ren. It is a matter of debate whether honesty is an innate characteristic of the human race or whether it is the result of their interaction in society. From an animal behavior point of view, other vertebrates tend to privilege their individual condition and, to varying degrees, that of their offspring over that of other congeners. However, in primates, this phenomenon is less "individualistic" and reaches its peak in humans.

In this sense, honesty (as an ethical or moral quality in society) is also closely linked to sincerity, coherence, integrity, respect and dignity. But since human truth can never be absolute, honesty is also a subjective value, to the extent that it depends on the context and the actors involved. For this reason, it becomes very difficult to establish shared moral parameters from one society or one culture to another, and even between groups or between individuals, these conceptions can change radically and what for one is a sample of honesty for another is not. Thus, in some cultures the depredation of other peoples is accepted as an honest fact to favor the development of their own society; this factor is not well seen in other civilizations. Similarly, piracy is clearly a dishonest act for most people, but it is seen as a "justifiable" attitude towards abuses of the cost of books, music or computer software. In a parallel, the ancient maritime piracy was condemned as a form of theft by many governments, while it was seen by other nations as a kind of strange heroism.

In the different fields of a typical society, moreover, the concept of honesty is variable and more or less prioritized. For example, honesty is prioritized in science, but in politics this notion is much more debatable. However, the contamination of honesty has reached various fields, in which the condemnation of this fact is very versatile and depends on the standards applied. Thus, while a dishonest event is repudiated without hesitation by the entire scientific community when plagiarism or fraud is demonstrated, unfortunately this example is not recognized on many occasions in the powers of the State.