Crisp, Roger and Cowton, Christopher J. Hypocrisy and Moral Seriousness. American Philosophical Quarterly, 31 (4). pp. 343-349. ISSN 0003-0481

The word 'hypocrisy' has its root in the classical Greek verb 'hupokrinesthai', 'to answer'. In Attic Greek, the verb could mean 'to speak in dialogue' and hence 'to play a part on the stage'. From here it was a short route to the 'hypokrisia' with which the Pharisees are charge in the Gospel of St. Matthew.

Accusations of hypocrisy are surprisingly common in our culture, both at the personal and the political level. Judith Shklar goes so far as to characterise our age as that in which 'hypocrisy...alone is...inexcusable'. But, perhaps equally surprisingly, the nature of hypocrisy is hard to grasp. In this paper, we shall suggest that recent discussion of hypocrisy has foundered through a failure to recognise distinct forms of hypocrisy. We shall outline these different forms, and then consider various views on what they have in common.

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