Philosophical Studies 178 (5):1481-1501 (2021)

Emanuel Viebahn
Humboldt-University, Berlin
The aim of this paper is to argue that lying differs from mere misleading in a way that can be morally relevant: liars commit themselves to something they believe to be false, while misleaders avoid such commitment, and this difference can make a moral difference. Even holding all else fixed, a lie can therefore be morally worse than a corresponding misleading utterance. But, we argue, there are also cases in which the difference in commitment makes lying morally better than misleading, as well as cases in which the difference is not morally relevant. This view conflicts with the two main positions philosophers have defended in the ethics of lying and misleading, which entail either that lying is in virtue of its nature worse than misleading or that there is no morally relevant difference between lying and misleading.
Keywords lying  misleading  commitment
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11098-020-01492-1
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Translate to english
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 59,968
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Ignorance: A Case for Scepticism.Peter Unger - 1975 - Oxford University Press.
The Republic. Plato & Benjamin Jowett - 1894 - Courier Dover Publications.
Practical Philosophy.Immanuel Kant - 1996 - Cambridge University Press.
Asserting.Robert Brandom - 1983 - Noûs 17 (4):637-650.

View all 35 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Just Go Ahead and Lie.J. Saul - 2012 - Analysis 72 (1):3-9.
The Aesthetic Significance of the Lying-Misleading Distinction.Jessica Pepp - 2019 - British Journal of Aesthetics 59 (3):289-304.
Lying, Misleading, and Dishonesty.Alex Barber - 2020 - The Journal of Ethics 24 (2):141-164.
Lying and Misleading in Discourse.Andreas Stokke - 2016 - Philosophical Review 125 (1):83-134.
The Distinctive Wrong in Lying.Alan Strudler - 2010 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 13 (2):171-179.
Deceiving without answering.Peter van Elswyk - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (5):1157-1173.
Liar!Jonathan Webber - 2013 - Analysis 73 (4):651-659.
Lying, Deceiving, and Misleading.Andreas Stokke - 2013 - Philosophy Compass 8 (4):348-359.
Lying with Presuppositions.Emanuel Viebahn - 2019 - Noûs 54 (3):731-751.
Simulation, Seduction, and Bullshit: Cooperative and Destructive Misleading.Leslie A. Howe - 2017 - Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 44 (3):300-314.


Added to PP index

Total views
34 ( #310,525 of 2,433,398 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
11 ( #60,399 of 2,433,398 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes