132 (526):372-401 (2023
Communication can be risky. Like other kinds of actions, it comes with potential costs. For instance, an utterance can be embarrassing, offensive, or downright illegal. In the face of such risks, speakers tend to act strategically and seek ‘plausible deniability’. In this paper, we propose an account of the notion of deniability at issue. On our account, deniability is an epistemic phenomenon. A speaker has deniability if she can make it epistemically irrational for her audience to reason in certain ways. To avoid predictable confusion, we distinguish deniability from a practical correlate we call ‘untouchability’. Roughly, a speaker has untouchability if she can make it practically irrational for her audience to act in certain ways. These accounts shed light on the nature of strategic speech and suggest countermeasures against strategic speech.