The article analyses theoretically the approaches to understanding of honesty in psychology and pedagogy. It notes that honesty is considered as a personal moral quality manifested in sincerity, decency and truthfulness, fidelity to accepted responsibilities and principles.
The modern world has a tendency to depreciate spiritual values. This is especially true for such values as conscience, honesty and honour. It is a characteristic today’s trend that many people do not even fully understand the essence of these values, while others are familiar with them only in words, forgetting to use them in business. Honesty for a modern person means less than a career or a successful business. In our purely materialistic world, pragmatism becomes the dominant ethical system in business.
Honesty and truthfulness are important traits of a person’s character. They are closely related. However, honesty is a broader concept than truthfulness. It manifests itself not only in the fact that a person is truthful, but also in his/her behaviour at all, in attitudes to his/her responsibilities, to people around, to him/her and his/her behaviour.
A truly honest person acts actively and not because of fear of condemnation, punishment and so on, but because of an internal need, a desire to do just that, and not otherwise. An honest person is demanding of him/herself, honest in front of him/herself, he/she does not make a difference between words and deeds.
The main factors influencing the education of honesty are factors of family, school, teachers and social environment. Honesty characterises actions of an individual toward others, its basis is observance of social norms and rules, and therefore honesty is an individual manifestation of conscience in interpersonal relationships. Honesty is the basis of people's trust in each other. The studies of honesty, carried out in different traditions, note an important role of the motivational component for its development, as well as the phenomenon that we designate as “honesty” self-attitude. At the same time, honesty is considered as a moral and communicative personal quality; its structure is understood as a unity of three interconnected components: cognitive, motivational and behavioural.
The article determines that honesty as a moral phenomenon can be described through four relatively independent aspects. The first one is honest behaviour. This is understood as voluntary observance of honesty rules, even if their violation promises a person certain benefits without punishment. Honesty is always associated with a free moral choice. The second aspect is related to personal motives and needs; here, the determining factor is an honest attitude to other people. The third aspect is cognitive one, including moral knowledge, ideas and judgments related to the honesty norm. It describes mastery by a person of various sides of honesty as a moral category: the content of the honesty norm, the requirements that it imposes on a person, the criteria of honesty - self-estimation and assessment of other people’s honesty. Finally, the fourth aspect is the experience of one’s own or someone else’s honesty in terms of self-awareness whether moral standards are observed, or vice versa, violated.
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