Stopping would-be liars across the board

Monday, March 21, 2011; 8:18 PM

Herbert Rakatansky [letters, March 20] said that in his 40 years of practice as a physician, no one who wanted a medical record misrepresented ever answered yes to his question, "Do you want to go to a doctor who is dishonest?"

His solution to this ethical issue is broadly applicable. In my decades of university teaching, students have approached me with pleas for higher grades. Some were very persistent but eventually dropped the matter after a query such as "Your grade represents my best judgment of your course work. Do you really expect me to lie in writing for you by changing it?"

Reminders about our expectations of honesty might be effective across a wide range of settings beyond medicine and education.

A. Charles Catania, Columbia

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