Honesty refers to a facet of moral character and connotes positive and virtuous attributes such as integrity, truthfulness, and straightforwardness, including straightforwardness of conduct, along with the absence of lying, cheating, theft, etc. Furthermore, honesty means being trustworthy, loyal, fair, and sincere.
Honesty is valued in many ethnic and religious cultures. "Honesty is the best policy" is a proverb of Benjamin Franklin; however, the quote "Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom" is attributed to Thomas Jefferson, as used in a letter to Nathaniel Macon.
Others have noted, however, that "[t]oo much honesty might be seen as undisciplined openness". For example, individuals may be perceived as being "too honest" if they honestly express negative opinions of others, either without having been asked their opinion, or having been asked in a circumstance where the response would be trivial.
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- Schluter, Dolph; Price, Trevor. (1993.) "Honesty, Perception and Population Divergence in Sexually Selected Traits", Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 253(1336):117-22.
- "Thomas Jefferson to Nathaniel Macon". January 12, 1819.
- Barbara MacKinnon, Andrew Fiala, Ethics: Theory and Contemporary Issues, Concise Edition (2015), p. 93.