Lying, more or less: a computer simulation study of graded lies and trust dynamics

Synthese 199 (1-2):1-28 (2020)
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Abstract

Partial lying denotes the cases where we partially believe something to be false but nevertheless assert it with the intent to deceive the addressee. We investigate how the severity of partial lying may be determined and how partial lies can be classified. We also study how much epistemic damage an agent suffers depending on the level of trust that she invests in the liar and the severity of the lies she is told. Our analysis is based on the results from exploratory computer simulations of an arguably rational Bayesian agent who is trying to determine how biased a coin is while observing the coin tosses and listening to a liar’s misleading predictions about the outcomes. Our results provide an interesting testable hypothesis at the intersection of epistemology and ethics, namely that in the longer term partial lies lead to more epistemic damage than outright lies.

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Borut Trpin
Ludwig Maximilians Universität, München

References found in this work

Bayesian Epistemology.Luc Bovens & Stephan Hartmann - 2003 - Oxford: Oxford University Press. Edited by Stephan Hartmann.
On bullshit.Harry G. Frankfurt - 1986 - Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Assertion, knowledge, and rational credibility.Igor Douven - 2006 - Philosophical Review 115 (4):449-485.

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