equivocation

When thou are obliged to speak, be sure to speak the truth; for equivocation is half-way to lying, and lying is the whole way to hell.

Say what you mean to do… and take it for granted that you mean to do right. Never do a wrong thing to make a friend or keep one… you will wrong him and wrong yourself by equivocation of any kind.

There is no possible excuse for a guarded lie. Enthusiastic and impulsive people will sometimes falsify thoughtlessly, but equivocation is malice prepense.

I must first clear up an ambiguity in the phrase 'doing evil that good may come'. We cannot ask whether e. g. Caesar's death was a good or bad thing to happen; there are various titles under which it may be called good or bad. One might very well say e. g. that a violent death was a bad thing to happen to a living organism but a good thing to happen to a man who claimed divine worship, and this would again leave it open whether doing Caesar to death was a good or bad thing to do for Brutus and the rest. Now when I speak of 'not doing evil that good may come', what I mean is that certain sorts of act are such bad things to do that they must never be done to secure any good or avoid any evil. For A to kill a man or cut off his arm is not necessarily a bad thing to do, though it is necessarily bad that such a thing should happen to a living organism. Only by a fallacy of equivocation can people argue that if you accept the principle of not doing evil that good may come, then you must be against capital punishment and surgical operations.