Analysis 71 (2):300-302 (2011)

Julia Staffel
University of Colorado, Boulder
Sorensen offers the following definition of a ‘knowledge-lie’: ‘An assertion that p is a knowledge-lie exactly if intended to prevent the addressee from knowing that p is untrue but is not intended to deceive the addressee into believing p.’ According to Sorensen, knowledge-lies are not meant to deceive their addressee, and this fact is supposed to make them less bad than ordinary lies. I will argue that standard cases of knowledge-lies, including almost all the cases Sorensen considers, do in fact involve deception, contrary to what Sorensen claims. And while there are cases of non-deceptive knowledge-lies, such cases are deviant, either because it is only incidental that the knowledge-preventing assertion is a lie, or because it is only incidental that the lie doesn't deceive. Here's an example of a knowledge-lie: Dr Head is considering firing Dr Appendix because of his weak research. But he doesn't want to fire Appendix unless he knows that Appendix's research isn't good, and so he consults Dr Heart. Head knows that if Appendix's research is good, then Heart will tell the truth and say so, whereas if Appendix's work isn't good, then Heart may or may not …
Keywords deception  lying  knowledge  degrees of belief
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1093/analys/anr021
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 63,194
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Knowledge-Lies.Roy Sorensen - 2010 - Analysis 70 (4):608-615.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Lying, Risk and Accuracy.Sam Fox Krauss - 2017 - Analysis 77 (4):726-734.
Lying as a Scalar Phenomenon.Neri Marsili - 2014 - In Sibilla Cantarini, Werner Abraham & Elizabeth Leiss (eds.), "Certainty-uncertainty – and the attitudinal space in between”,. John Benjamins Publishing.

View all 13 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

What Liars Can Tell Us About the Knowledge Norm of Practical Reasoning.Don Fallis - 2011 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 49 (4):347-367.
Knowledge-Lies.Roy Sorensen - 2010 - Analysis 70 (4):608-615.
Bald-Faced Lies! Lying Without the Intent to Deceive.Roy Sorensen - 2007 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 88 (2):251-264.
What Lies Behind Misspeaking.Roy Sorensen - 2011 - American Philosophical Quarterly 48 (4):399.
Blindspots.Roy A. Sorensen - 1988 - Oxford University Press.
Vagueness and Power-Delegation in Law: A Reply to Sorensen.Hrafn Asgeirsson - 2013 - In Michael Freeman & Fiona Smith (eds.), Current Legal Issues: Law and Language. Oxford University Press.
The Definition of Lying and Deception.James Edwin Mahon - 2015 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
A Reply to Critics. [REVIEW]Roy Sorensen - 2005 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 71 (3):712-728.
Reply to Sorensen.Brian Ellis - 1982 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 11 (4):461 - 462.
Review: A Reply to Critics. [REVIEW]Roy Sorensen - 2005 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 71 (3):712 - 728.


Added to PP index

Total views
110 ( #97,391 of 2,448,338 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
3 ( #226,806 of 2,448,338 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes