Talk:hypocrisy

Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to: navigation, search

Definition[edit]

No Definition Note
1 The act of pretending to oppose a belief or behaviour while holding the same beliefs or behaviours at the same time. From Wikipedia.
2 The claim, pretense, or false representation of holding beliefs, feelings, or virtues that one does not actually possess. The current one.

I prefer Wikipedia's definition (1), but am a non-native English speaker. --Daniel Polansky 15:24, 13 March 2008 (UTC)

I agree that the Wikipedia definition is clearer, but ours seems to be more accurate. The Wikipedia definition says it means "opposing a belief, behaviour or virtue while holding the same", but it also means "holding a belief, behaviour, or virtue while pretending not to". —Stephen 11:00, 14 March 2008 (UTC)
I think our current definition sounds too much like plain old lying, and also sounds a bit too abstract in terms of how hypocrisy is spotted. The OED def has more emphasis on actual behavior as evidence of hypocrisy:
1. the assumption of moral standards to which one’s own behavior does not conform; pretense.
2. an instance of this.
Maybe a sense 2, something like
Moral self-contradiction whereby stated or implied beliefs, standards or virtues are simultaneously claimed and acted against. ? And then I think we need a sense 3. An instance of either of the above (to help explain usage of the plural).--TyrS 03:34, 4 March 2010 (UTC)
OOh! Just came up with this. Much better, I think:
Moral self-contradiction whereby the behavior of one or more people belies their own claimed or implied possession of certain beliefs, standards or virtues.
Another problem with our current def is that it implies that hypocrisy is always more or less deliberate or conscious, and I don't think that's necessarily part of the meaning of the word.--TyrS 01:26, 5 March 2010 (UTC)
I think that, as the word is used as an accusation, it is rarely in fact based on one's internal insincerity, though that sense could easily appear in self-criticism. It is about an inconsistency between one's state beliefs or claim to be "good" and the expectations others have about what actually constitutes the behavior of one who has those beliefs or is "good".
But this is essentially the view of a skeptic. The speaker or writer making the accusation almost always implies insincerity and is not concerned with the implausibility of his claim of insight into the true values, attitudes and beliefs of the object of criticism.
I'd be surprised if we could not find support for both definitions and for the aspect of both that justifies the plural: "instances of ....". DCDuring TALK 11:52, 5 March 2010 (UTC)
Yes, the accusation aspect made me wonder if it should be tagged (pejorative), or would that just be confusing?
Do you think I should add "Moral self-contradiction whereby the behavior of one or more people belies their own claimed or implied possession of certain beliefs, standards or virtues" as another sense? In order to make the behavior vs values thing, and the not-necessarily-deliberate thing clearer?--TyrS 01:04, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
Calling it pejorative seems accurate. The same behavior can be characterized as self-delusion, lack of self-awareness, maintaining morale, maintaining appearances "for the sake of the children", etc. which are mostly less pejorative. To call it pejorative might be confusing for someone with enough self-confidence to make the charge with confidence and the customary lack of self-awareness about the hypocrisy of leveling such charges when the accuser does not consistently act in accordance with his/her own beliefs. Such confusion might be a great gift to humanity.
Though this is a subject worth thinking about in great depth, I don't think a dictionary can fully address the subtleties. I have cracked open Sisela Bok's Lying (c 1975) and wonder what she says.
Other dictionaries have definitions like ours, often with a countable sense for instances. The essence seems to be a contradiction perceived by some critic between the stated or imputed beliefs and the actions or consequences of the actions of some individual or group. The critic could be the same as the actor. Sometimes there is an implication of intentional pretense. But that does not seem essential. Self-delusion/rationalization can provide protection against the need for intentional pretense. DCDuring TALK 01:45, 6 March 2010 (UTC)

Oops, I meant to make that suggestion about adding (pejorative) at the hypocrite entry, not here. (Got confused, sorry.) I think 'hypocrite' is more clearly a pejorative than 'hypocrisy'.
I guess I might as well add my proposed sense 2 above (& probably "3. An instance of either of the above").--TyrS 01:51, 6 March 2010 (UTC)

'Translations' def (& necessary deliberateness of 'hypocrisy')[edit]

Is it a mistake that our Tranlsations def is different ("or false representation of" missing from def on page)?
(This seems to me to brings up the question about whether or not the word hypocrisy implies a deliberate or conscious act.)--TyrS 03:22, 5 March 2010 (UTC)