1Did you know that the majority of Americans say that cheating is wrong, yet the majority of Americans regularly cheat? 2How can that be? 3The answer lies in how we define cheating. 4The fact is that people differentiate between three types of cheating.
Some cheating is considered flat-out wrong by most people. For example, cheating on one's spouse is pretty universally considered wrong. But cheating on a girlfriend or boyfriend is not as serious. Another example of cheating that's definitely wrong is robbery. Most people absolutely agree that stealing is wrong. Yet few people think there's anything wrong with taking home paper clips, pens, notepads, and other supplies from the office.
Another type of cheating might be called "conditional." That is, some acts are considered wrong under certain conditions. For example, many people believe it is wrong for wealthy people to cheat on their income tax returns but that it is not as wrong for people who must struggle to make ends meet. Academic cheating is also an example of conditional cheating. Students think it's wrong for a medical student to cheat on a state licensing exam, but most think cheating on a history quiz is not so bad, especially if it's a pop quiz.
Finally, there are some types of cheating that the majority of people don't see as wrong at all. Take driving over the speed limit, for instance. Very few people feel guilty for this all-too-common occurrence. Similarly, most people think it's all right not to speak up if they've been undercharged for something. After all, they claim, it wasn't their fault.
Clearly, we don't all mean the same thing when we talk about cheating, even though there is surprising agreement on what's acceptable and what isn't. Perhaps what we need are multiple words to describe the different types of cheating.
1. Which sentence is the thesis statement in this essay?
- 8 years ago
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