Morally obligated to correct a false presumption?

Here’s a question about verbally correcting someone else’s presumptions about another person and whether or not you are morally obligated to do it. Let me ask the question by setting it up.

Let’s just say for the sake of argument that you are, say, diabetic- newly diagnosed. You’re talking with someone who happens to say of you, “at least you are completely healthy” but they are of course unaware that you’re diabetic as you are newly diagnosed. Would you have a moral obligation at that point to interrupt and state “I’m actually diabetic”? Let me spice up a little bit; instead of the diabetic example, now let’s say for the sake of argument that it’s something far more personal and extremely embarrassing - it’s something that most people would consider a deep secret - and a similar scenario happens (e.g. someone is attempting to comfort you about something and they say something down the lines of “well at least you’re normal in this (x) way”) and in reality there is still that secret that they are unaware of when making the presumption which could render their statement false. In this case, are you morally obligated to correct them by stating out loud “well actually I’m not, because of (y)” and thus reveal your deeply personal and embarrassing secret? Or is it permissive in this case to just let it go and remain silent?

To clarify a few things I’m (hopefully obviously) aware of; from a moral standpoint no one is not required to walk around telling people things about themselves (that’s what the confessional is for), nor do we have a moral obligation to answer questions about ourselves from strangers. We’re not cursed to answer all questions about ourselves from strangers- as far as I know, there are no street conversations among non-Catholics that go something like “hey, you should ask him his embarrassing secrets and sins and all kinds of personal information… he’s a Catholic so he has to answer!”

Catholics have no moral obligation to confess their sins or crimes to anyone but a priest.
I know. :shrug:

No. You are under no moral obligation in this case because your latest diagosis is between you and your doctor and anyone else you wish to tell. If others have the mistaken impression you are in fine healthy you don’t have to divulge your health history to them.

I may be understanding the question from a different perspective. I think that it is part of Catholic Social teaching to not assume what people believe from the outside. To do so leads to racism, bigotry, bearing false witness against others. We should never assume about people without really knowing and understanding what they are about… With knowledge is power so to speak, so putting oneself in the shoes of others is a good way to see things as they see thing rather then how we see them and never just assume about others… We should also look for the good in others in hopes to bring more good out of them in efforts to illuminate the light of Christ in them…:slight_smile: So in that light, only light can drive out darkness… Darkness can never drive out darkness, so I believe we are morally obligated to speak up when we see someone bearing false witness against others or assuming something bad about others. I mean, someone has to or it’s like affirming that persons assumptions. We don’t have to tell our secrets, or anyone elses for that matter, but we should speak out against injustices in general.

Nor is there an obligation to discuss your health with anyone except those who have a concrete reason to know.

There is no moral obligation to correct any false assumption (whether regarding health, typically considered to be a “confidential” matter or regarding ANYTHING) unless the person making the assumption has a “right” to know. Generally, such “rights” are not presumed.

For example, let’s reverse scenario a bit. YOU have seen a lab report with the person’s name on it showing that THEY have diabetes. In a casual conversation, they say they are going to go eat a whole cheesecake now because THEY are in perfect health (an incorrect assumption). You know they have diabetes and eating a cheesecake could kill them. You now have an obligation to correct their false assumption because they have a right to know about their own well being.

BTW, I REALLY like cheesecake. :extrahappy:

Exactly. Everyone is entitled to a private life and medical information certainly falls within that realm.

Interesting by the OP example because I am Type II diabetic (I have no qualms about mentioning it); I did have to declare it on my aviation medical and it’s caused me all sort of hassles but at least I got to keep my licence… legally. This is one instance where it would be immoral to withhold that information because of the possible safety ramifications of a pilot with diabetes. I was obliged to undergo a whole lot of extra testing to prove I was still fit to hold my license (dilated retina exam, treadmill electrocardiogram, 24 hour blood pressure monitoring, echocardiogram). Fortunately through intensive road cycling and mountain hiking in winter, I manage to stay reasonably fit :stuck_out_tongue:

So if you went to see your aviation medical examiner and he asked if you were healthy, you’d be obliged to share it with him/her. It would be the same for a bus driver or train engineer.

These replies are encouraging. I honestly don’t know how I wasn’t able to come to these conclusions. I mean I guess I did (I didn’t think it’d be immoral to not correct false presumptions), but perhaps I needed some confirmation just to be sure.

Hopefully this isn’t even necessary but I meant that no one is required to walk around telling people personal stuff… I’m assuming most people assumed that’s what I meant, but just in case they didn’t catch the accidental double negative which if read literally would indicate I do in fact believe we are required to walk around telling people.

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