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Encyclopedia > Hypocrisy

Hypocrisy is the act of condemning or calling for the condemnation of another person when the critic is guilty of the act for which he demands that the accused be condemned. Though hypocrisy is frequently invoked as an accusation in debates, a few theorists have studied the utility of hypocrisy, and in some cases have suggested that the conflicts manifested as hypocrisy are a necessary or even beneficial part of human behavior and society.[1] Debate (North American English) or debating (British English) is a formal method of interactive and position representational argument. ...



The word hypocrisy derives from the Greek ὑπόκρισις (hypokrisis), which means "play-acting", "acting out", "feigning, dissembling" or "an answer"[2]; the word hypocrite is from the Greek word ὑποκρίτης (hypokrites), the agentive noun associated with ύποκρινομαι (hypokrinomai), i.e. "I play a part." Both derive from the verb κρίνω, "judge, assess," presumably because the performance of a dramatic text by an actor was to involve a degree of interpretation, or assessment, of that text. In linguistics, agent noun (or nomen agentis) is a word that is derived from another word denoting an action (A) and that has the meaning `entity that does A. Agent noun (or nomen agentis) is also the name of this derivational meaning (also called a derivateme). ...

Nevertheless, whereas hypokrisis applied to any sort of public performance (including the art of rhetoric), hypokrites was a technical term for a stage actor and was not considered an appropriate role for a public figure. In Athens in the 4th Century BC, for example, the great orator Demosthenes ridiculed his rival Aeschines, who had been a successful actor before taking up politics, as a hypokrites whose skill at impersonating characters on stage made him an untrustworthy politician. This negative view of the hypokrites, perhaps combined with the Roman disdain for actors, later shaded into the originally neutral hypokrisis. It is this later sense of hypokrisis as "play-acting," i.e. the assumption of a counterfeit persona, that gives the modern word hypocrisy its negative connotation. In all this, we do not find the modern idea that the hypocrite is unaware of that his performance or argument stands in contradiction with his self: on the contrary, a hypocrite in antiquity was someone who intentionally tried to deceive others. Demosthenes (384–322 BC, Greek: Δημοσθένης, Dēmosthénēs) was a prominent Greek statesman and orator of ancient Athens. ... Aeschines (389 - 314 BC), Greek statesman and one of the ten Attic orators, was born at Athens. ...

Defining hypocrisy

Merriam-Webster defines hypocrisy as "a feigning to be what one is not or to believe what one does not."

Webster's New World Dictionary defines it thus: "A pretending to be what one is not, or to feel what one does not feel, especially a pretense of virtue, piety, etc." It defines hypocrite as follows: "a person who pretends to be what he is not, one who pretends to be better than he really is."

Since the root of the word comes from actors acting a part, the definition as laid out in dictionaries makes sense. It appears popular usage uses the word to mean something different from its dictionary definition.

Popularily, it is believed an act of hypocrisy has the aim to condemn another person or people, but not to condemn an act; when the critic makes verbal attacks or demands of punishment against perpetrators of the act that one practices oneself. The word hypocrisy is used to mean, simply put, the pot calling the kettle black. One is hard put to find dictionary support of that meaning. The phrase Pot calling the kettle black is an idiom, used to accuse another speaker of hypocrisy, in that the speaker disparages the subject in a way that could equally be applied to him or her. ...

Hypocrisy, then, consists of pretense, feigning, phoniness, being two-faced, insincerity. The theme of insincerity underlies the words of Jesus in the Christian Bible when he calls certain Pharisees to task for being hypocrites, i.e., insincere in their religious practices.

Hypocrisy and morality

Hypocrisy has been described alongside lack of sincerity, as a characteristic which attracts particular opprobrium in the modern age. [3]Many belief systems condemn behaviours related to hypocrisy. In some translations of the Book of Job, the Hebrew word chaneph is rendered as "hypocrite," though it usually means "godless" or "profane." In the Christian Bible, Jesus condemns the scribes and Pharisees as hypocrites in the passage known as the Woes of the Pharisees. [4] In the Buddhist text Dhammapada, Gautama Buddha condemns a man who takes the appearance of an ascetic but is full of passions within.[5] In Islam, the Qur'an rails against the munafiq - those who claim to be believers and peacemakers, thinking they are fooling Allah and others, but only fool themselves. [6] In the modern world, sincerity is the elusive virtue of speaking truly about ones feelings, thoughts, desires. ... The Book of Job (איוב) is one of the books of the Hebrew Bible. ... The word Hebrew most likely means to cross over, referring to the Semitic people crossing over the Euphrates River. ... Christianity percentage by country, purple is highest, orange is lowest Topics in Christianity Movements · Denominations Ecumenism · Preaching · Prayer Music · Liturgy · Calendar Symbols · Art · Criticism Important figures Apostle Paul · Church Fathers Constantine · Athanasius · Augustine Anselm · Aquinas · Palamas · Wycliffe Tyndale · Luther · Calvin · Wesley Arius · Marcion of Sinope Pope · Archbishop of Canterbury Patriarch... This Gutenberg Bible is displayed by the United States Library. ... This article is about Jesus of Nazareth. ... The word Pharisees comes from the Hebrew פרושים prushim from פרוש parush, meaning separated , that is, one who is separated for a life of purity (Ernest Klein, Comprehensive Etymological Dictionary of the Hebrew Language). ... The Woes of the Pharisees is a list of criticisms by Jesus against Scribes and Pharisees and Lawyers that is present in the Gospel of Luke 11:37-54 and Gospel of Matthew 23:1-36. ... A silhouette of Buddha at Ayutthaya, Thailand. ... The Dhammapada (Pali, translates as Path of the Dharma. ... Standing Buddha sculpture, ancient region of Gandhara, northern Pakistan, 1st century CE, Musée Guimet. ... The word ascetic derives from the ancient Greek term askesis (practice, training or exercise). ... For people named Islam, see Islam (name). ... The Qur’ān [1] (Arabic: ;, literally the recitation; also sometimes transliterated as Quran, Koran, or Alcoran) is the central religious text of Islam. ... Munafiq is a term in Islam used to describe a hypocrite, who while outwardly practicing the forms of Islam, inwardly conceals (perhaps even unknowingly) kufr; considered worse than a kafir. ...

Psychology of hypocrisy

In psychology, hypocritical behavior is closely related to the fundamental attribution error: individuals are more likely to explain their own actions by their environment, yet they attribute the actions of others to 'innate characteristics', thus leading towards judging others while justifying ones' own actions. [7] Psychology (from Greek: ψυχή, psukhē, spirit, soul; and λόγος, logos, knowledge) is both an academic and applied discipline involving the scientific study of mental processes and behavior. ... In attribution theory, the fundamental attribution error (also known as correspondence bias or overattribution effect and frequently confused with the actor-observer bias) is the tendency for people to over-emphasize dispositional, or personality-based, explanations for behaviors observed in others while under-emphasizing the role and power of situational...

Also, some people genuinely fail to recognize that they have character faults which they condemn in others. This is called Psychological projection. This is Self-deception rather than deliberate deception of other people. In other words, "Psychological hypocrisy" is usually interpreted by psychological theorists to be an unconscious defense mechanism rather than a conscious act of deception, as in the more classic connotation of hypocrisy. People understand vices which they are struggling to overcome or have overcome in the past. Efforts to get other people to overcome such vices may be sincere. There may be an element of hypocrisy as well if the actors do not readily admit to themselves how far they are or have been subject to these vices. This article or section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ... Self-deception is a process of denying or rationalizing away the relevance, significance, or importance of opposing evidence and argument. ... Vice is a practice or habit that is considered immoral, depraved, and/or degrading in the associated society. ...

Hypocrisy in humor

Hypocrisy is often utilized intentionally as a form of sarcastic humor, not only in film and television, but among the population. Of course, there is a distinct boundary between humorous hypocrisy and what can be interpreted as serious hypocrisy. Often, if the hypocrisy act is carried out too long, one may get the impression that they are serious. Another form of serious hypocrisy that was intended to be funny is when the listener does not realize that it is humor, or when the speaker insults the listener. In comedy writing, this is sometimes called a "Stan Daniels turn," a joke setup where "a character says something and then does an immediate 180-degree shift on what he just said," according to The Simpsons producer Al Jean.[8] Look up Humour in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... “Moving picture” redirects here. ... Stanley Edwin Daniels (1934–April 6, 2007) was an American sitcom writer who won eight Emmy Awards for his work on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Taxi. ... Simpsons redirects here. ... Al Jean is a TV comedy writer most known for his work on The Simpsons. ...

Theoretical issues

Multiple theories of hypocrisy have been proposed. The conflict caused by contradiction can lead to differing outcomes. Broadly speaking, a contradiction is an incompatibility between two or more statements, ideas, or actions. ...

In organizational studies, theorists like Nils Brunsson have discussed the paradox of the morality of hypocrisy. Brunsson reasons that, despite conventional social reactions to it, hypocrisy may be an essential guard against fanaticism, and may be to the benefit of high values and moral behaviour. [1] Organizational studies, organizational behaviour, and organizational theory are related terms for the academic study of organizations, examining them using the methods of economics, sociology, political science, anthropology, and psychology. ... Look up paradox in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Fanaticism is an emotion of being filled with excessive, uncritical zeal, particularly for an extreme religious or political cause, or with an obsessive enthusiasm for a pastime or hobby. ...

In the field of international relations scholars such as Krasner have suggested that sovereignty, specifically as brought about by the Peace of Westphalia, reaffirmed the principle cuius regio, eius religio, meaning that the ruler's faith became the official denomination of his state. Krasner calls this a system of "organized hypocrisy." [9] The Politics series Politics Portal This box:      International relations (IR), a branch of political science, is the study of foreign affairs and global issues among states within the international system, including the roles of states, inter-governmental organizations (IGOs), non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and multinational corporations (MNCs). ... “Sovereign” redirects here. ... Ratification of the Treaty of Münster The Peace of Westphalia refers to the pair of treaties (the Treaty of Münster and the Treaty of Osnabrück) signed in October and May 1648 which ended both the Thirty Years War and the Eighty Years War. ... Cuius regio, eius religio is a phrase in Latin that means, Whose the region is, his religion. ...

See also

An ad hominem argument, also known as argumentum ad hominem (Latin, literally argument to the man), is 1) a logical fallacy that involves replying to an argument or assertion by addressing the person presenting the argument or assertion rather than the argument itself; 2) an argument pointing out an inconsistency... Moral absolutism is the belief that there are absolute standards against which moral questions can be judged, and that certain actions are right or wrong, devoid of the context of the act. ... In philosophy, moral relativism is the position that moral or ethical propositions do not reflect objective and/or universal moral truths, but instead make claims relative to social, cultural, historical or personal circumstances. ... The phrase Pot calling the kettle black is an idiom, used to accuse another speaker of hypocrisy, in that the speaker disparages the subject in a way that could equally be applied to him or her. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into Liberal elite. ... The discourse on judgementalism, Matthew 7:1-6, follows the discourse on ostentation in the sermon on the mount. ...


  1. ^ a b Nils Brunsson (2003). The Organization of Hypocrisy: Talk, Decisions and Actions in Organizations. Copenhagen Business School Press; 2Rev Ed edition. ISBN 978-8763001069
  2. ^ Pocket Oxford Classical Greek Dictionary, ed Morwood and Taylor, OUP 2002
  3. ^ Melzer AM (1995). Rousseau and the Modern Cult of Sincerity. Harvard Review of Philosophy. Spring 1995, pp. 4-21
  4. ^ Gospel of Luke 11:37-54 and Gospel of Matthew 23:1-36
  5. ^ "What is the use of platted hair, O fool! what of the raiment of goat-skins? Within thee there is ravening, but the outside thou makest clean. The man who wears dirty raiments, who is emaciated and covered with veins, who lives alone in the forest, and meditates, him I call indeed a Brâhmana. I do not call a man a Brâhmana because of his origin or of his mother. He is indeed arrogant, and he is wealthy: but the poor, who is free from all attachments, him I call indeed a Brâhmana. Dhammapada 394-396, Translated from the Pâli by F. Max Müller
  6. ^ "And of mankind are some who say, 'We believe in God and the Last Day,' when they believe not. They think to beguile God and those who believe, and they beguile none save themselves; but they perceive not. In their hearts is a disease, and God increases their disease. A painful doom is theirs because they lie. And when it is said to them, 'Make not mischief on the earth,' they say, 'We are only peacemakers.' Behold they are indeed the mischief-makers but they perceive not." Al-Baqara 8-12
  7. ^ Jones, E. E. & Harris, V. A. (1967). The attribution of attitudes. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 3, 1–24.
  8. ^ Stewart, Susan (April 14, 2007). Stan Daniels, 72, a Writer of Emmy-Winning Sitcoms, Dies. The New York Times
  9. ^ Stephen D. Krasner (1999). Sovereignty: Organized Hypocrisy. Princeton University Press ISBN 978-0691007113

The Gospel of Luke (literally, according to Luke; Greek, Κατά Λουκαν, Kata Loukan) is a synoptic Gospel, and the third and longest of the four canonical Gospels of the New Testament. ... The Gospel of Matthew (literally, according to Matthew; Greek, Κατά Μαθθαίον or Κατά Ματθαίον, Kata Maththaion or Kata Matthaion) is a synoptic gospel in the New Testament, one of four canonical gospels. ... The Dhammapada (Pali, translates as Path of the Dharma. ... Sūrata’l-Baqarah (Arabic: ‎ the Cow) is the second, and the longest, chapter of the Quran, with 286 verses. ... The New York Times is a daily newspaper published in New York City by Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr. ...

External links

Look up hypocrisy in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
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Metallian.com - Hypocrisy (4300 words)
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Hypocrisy is on the move with a new album on Nuclear Blast Records, new members, new video and is currently touring on both sides of the Atlantic.
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In 1999, Hypocrisy, a very prolific band, obliged with a self-titled release (their ninth CD in eight years!).
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