Bald-faced lying to institutions: deception or manipulation

Synthese 203 (4):1-13 (2024)
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Abstract

Deceptionism about lying is the view that all lies are intended to deceive. This view sits uneasily with some cases that seem to involve lies not intended to deceive. We call these lies bald-faced because the liar lies while believing that the hearer knows that they are lying. The most recent deceptionist argument put forward by Rudnicki and Odrowąż-Sypniewska (this journal) defends the view that all genuine bald-faced lies are intended to deceive some of their hearers. I argue that this argument is interesting but problematic: its premises do not support the view that all bald-faced lies are intended to deceive but rather only that some people who bald-faced lie to institutions or large audiences intend to deceive someone. Also, genuine bald-faced lies addressed at institutions are intended to (non-deceptively) manipulate institutions rather than deceive anyone.

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Vladimir Krstic
United Arab Emirates University

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