Andreas Stokke presents a comprehensive study of lying and insincere language use. He investigates how lying relates to other forms of insincerity and explores the kinds of attitudes that go with insincere uses of language. -/- Part I develops an account of insincerity as a linguistic phenomenon. Stokke provides a detailed theory of the distinction between lying and speaking insincerely, and accounts for the relationship between lying and deceiving. A novel framework of assertion underpins the analysis (...) of various kinds of insincere speech, including false implicature and forms of misleading with presuppositions, prosodic focus, and semantic incompleteness. -/- Part II sets out the relationship between what is communicated and the speaker's attitudes. Stokke develops the view of insincerity as a shallow phenomenon that is dependent on conscious attitudes rather than deeper motivations. The various of ways of speaking while being indifferent toward what one communicates are covered, and the phenomenon of 'bullshitting' is distinguished from lying and other forms of insincerity. Finally, an account of insincere uses of interrogative, imperative, and exclamative utterances is also given. (shrink)
An important moral category—dishonest speech—has been overlooked in theoretical ethics despite its importance in legal, political, and everyday social exchanges. Discussion in this area has instead been fixated on a binary debate over the contrast between lying and ‘merely misleading’. Some see lying as a distinctive wrong; others see it as morally equivalent to deliberately omitting relevant truths, falsely insinuating, or any other species of attempted verbal deception. Parties to this debate have missed the relevance to their disagreement (...) of the notion of communicative dishonesty. Communicative dishonesty need not take the form of a lie, yet its wrongness does not reduce to the wrongness of seeking to deceive. This paper therefore proposes a major shift of attention away from the lying/misleading debate and towards the topic of communicative dishonesty. Dishonesty is not a simple notion to define, however. It presupposes a difficult distinction between what is and is not expressed in a given utterance. This differs from the more familiar distinction between what is and is not said, the distinction at the heart of the lying/misleading debate. This paper uses an idea central to speech act theory to characterize dishonesty in terms of the utterer’s communicative intentions, and applies the resulting definition to a variety of contexts. (shrink)
Lying is an important moral phenomenon that most people are affected by on a daily basis—be it in personal relationships, in political debates, or in the form of fake news. Nevertheless, surprisingly little is known about what actually constitutes a lie. According to the traditional definition of lying, a person lies if they explicitly express something they believe to be false. Consequently, it is often assumed that people cannot lie by more indirectly communicating believed‐false claims, for instance by (...) merely conversationally implicating them. In this paper, we subject this claim to an empirical test. In a preregistered study of 300 participants, we investigate how people judge cases of implicit deceptions that would usually be excluded by the traditional definition of lying (i.e., conversational implicatures, presuppositions, and nonverbal actions). Our results show that people do in fact consider it possible to lie by indirect means, suggesting that people have a broader concept of lying than is usually assumed. Moreover, our findings indicate that lie judgments are closely tied to the extent to which agents are perceived as having committed themselves to the believed‐false claims they have communicated. We discuss the implications of our results for the traditional definition of lying and propose a new commitment‐based definition of lying that can account for the findings of our experiment. (shrink)
What is the relationship between lying, belief, and knowledge? Prominent accounts of lying define it in terms of belief, namely telling someone something one believes to be false, often with the intent to deceive. This paper develops a novel account of lying by deriving evaluative dimensions of responsibility from the knowledge norm of assertion. Lies are best understood as special cases of vicious assertion; lying is the anti-paradigm of proper assertion. This enables an account of (...) class='Hi'>lying in terms of knowledge: roughly, lying is telling someone something you know ain't so. (shrink)
The distinction between lying and mere misleading is commonly tied to the distinction between saying and conversationally implicating. Many definitions of lying are based on the idea that liars say something they believe to be false, while misleaders put forward a believed-false conversational implicature. The aim of this paper is to motivate, spell out, and defend an alternative approach, on which lying and misleading differ in terms of commitment: liars, but not misleaders, commit themselves to something they (...) believe to be false. This approach entails that lying and misleading involve speech-acts of different force. While lying requires the committal speech-act of asserting, misleading involves the non-committal speech-act of suggesting. The approach leads to a broader definition of lying that can account for lies that are told while speaking non-literally or with the help of presuppositions, and it allows for a parallel definition of misleading, which so far is lacking in the debate. (shrink)
In the philosophical debate on lying, there has generally been agreement that either the speaker believes that his statement is false, or he believes that his statement is true. This article challenges this assumption, and argues that lying is a scalar phenomenon that allows for a number of intermediate cases – the most obvious being cases of uncertainty. The first section shows that lying can involve beliefs about graded truth values (fuzzy lies) and graded beliefs (graded-belief lies). (...) It puts forward a new definition to deal with these scalar parameters, that requires that the speaker asserts what he believes more likely to be false than true. The second section shows that statements are scalar in the same way beliefs are, and accounts for a further element of scalarity, illocutionary force. (shrink)
How wrong is it to deceive someone into sex by lying, say, about one's profession? The answer is seriously wrong when the liar's actual profession would be a deal breaker for the victim of the deception: this deception vitiates the victim's sexual consent, and it is seriously wrong to have sex with someone while lacking his or her consent.
This paper is divided into two parts. In the first part, I extend the traditional definition of lying to illocutionary acts executed by means of explicit performatives, focusing on promising. This is achieved in two steps. First, I discuss how the utterance of a sentence containing an explicit performative such as “I promise that Φ ” can count as an assertion of its content Φ . Second, I develop a general account of insincerity meant to explain under which conditions (...) a given illocutionary act can be insincere, and show how this applies to promises. I conclude that a promise to Φ is insincere (and consequently a lie) only if the speaker intends not to Φ , or believes that he will not Φ , or both. In the second part, I test the proposed definition of lying by promising against the intuitions of ordinary language speakers. The results show that, unlike alternative accounts, the proposed definition makes the correct predictions in the cases tested. Furthermore, these results challenge the following necessary conditions for telling a lie with content p: that you have to assert p directly; that you have to believe that p be false; that p must be false; that you must aim to deceive the addressee into believing that p. (shrink)
It is widely held that all lies are assertions: the traditional definition of lying entails that, in order to lie, speakers have to assert something they believe to be false. It is also widely held that assertion contrasts with presupposition and, in particular, that one cannot assert something by presupposing it. Together, these views imply that speakers cannot lie with presuppositions—a view that Andreas Stokke has recently explicitly defended. The aim of this paper is to argue that speakers can (...) lie with presuppositions, and to discuss some of the implications this outcome has for current research on lying, assertion and presupposition. (shrink)
Traditional definitions of lying require that a speaker believe that what she asserts is false. Sam Fox Krauss seeks to jettison the traditional belief requirement in favour of a necessary condition given in a credence-accuracy framework, on which the liar expects to impose the risk of increased inaccuracy on the hearer. He argues that this necessary condition importantly captures nearby cases as lies which the traditional view neglects. I argue, however, that Krauss's own account suffers from an identical drawback (...) of being unable to explain nearby cases; and even worse, that account fails to distinguish cases of telling lies from cases of telling the truth. (shrink)
Not every speech act can be a lie. A good definition of lying should be able to draw the right distinctions between speech acts that can be lies and speech acts that under no circumstances are lies. This paper shows that no extant account of lying is able to draw the required distinctions. It argues that a definition of lying based on the notion of ‘assertoric commitment’ can succeed where other accounts have failed. Assertoric commitment is analysed (...) in terms of two normative components: ‘accountability’ and ‘discursive responsibility’. The resulting definition of lying draws all the desired distinctions, providing an intensionally adequate analysis of the concept of lying. (shrink)
In the philosophical literature on the definition of lying, the analysis is generally restricted to cases of flat-out belief. This chapter considers the complex phenomenon of lies involving partial beliefs – beliefs ranging from mere uncertainty to absolute certainty. The first section analyses lies uttered while holding a graded belief in the falsity of the assertion, and presents a revised insincerity condition, requiring that the liar believes the assertion to be more likely to be false than true. The second (...) section analyses assertions that express graded beliefs, exploring how mitigation and reinforcement can alter the insincerity conditions for lying. The last section considers the case of lies that attack certainty (knowledge-lies), understood as attempt to alter the hearer's graded beliefs. (shrink)
This chapter explores the prospects for justifying the somewhat widespread, somewhat firmly held sense that there is some moral advantage to untruthfully implicating over lying. I call this the "Difference Intuition." I define lying in terms of asserting, but remain open about what precise definition best captures our ordinary notion. I define implicating as one way of meaning something without asserting it. I narrow down the kind of untruthful implicating that should be compared with lying for purposes (...) of evaluating whether there is a moral difference between them. Just as lying requires a robust form of assertion, so the kind of untruthful implicating to be compared with lying requires a robust form of implicating. Next, I set out various ways of sharpening the Difference Intuition and survey a range of approaches to justifying one class of sharpenings. I finish by sketching an approach to justifying an alternative sharpening of the Difference Intuition, which is inspired by John Stuart Mill's discussion of lying. (shrink)
Researchers have debated whether there is a relationship between a statement’s truth-value and whether it counts as a lie. One view is that a statement being objectively false is essential to whether it counts as a lie; the opposing view is that a statement’s objective truth-value is inessential to whether it counts as a lie. We report five behavioral experiments that use a novel range of behavioral measures to address this issue. In each case, we found evidence of a relationship. (...) A statement’s truth-value affects how quickly people judge whether it is a lie. When people consider the matter carefully and are told that they might need to justify their answer, they are more likely to categorize a statement as a lie when it is false than when it is true. When given options that inhibit perspective-taking, people tend to not categorize deceptively motivated statements as lies when they are true, even though they still categorize them as lies when they are false. Categorizing a speaker as “lying” leads people to strongly infer that the speaker’s statement is false. People are more likely to spontaneously categorize a statement as a lie when it is false than when it is true. We discuss four different interpretations of relevant findings to date. At present, the best supported interpretation might be that the ordinary lying concept is a prototype concept, with falsity being a centrally important element of the prototypical lie. (shrink)
In a recent book (Lying and insincerity, Oxford University Press, 2018), Andreas Stokke argues that one lies iff one says something one believes to be false, thereby proposing that it becomes common ground. This paper shows that Stokke’s proposal is unable to draw the right distinctions about insincere performative utterances. The objection also has repercussions on theories of assertion, because it poses a novel challenge to any attempt to define assertion as a proposal to update the common ground.
In a recent article, Krauss (2017) raises some fundamental questions concerning (i) what the desiderata of a definition of lying are, and (ii) how definitions of lying can account for partial beliefs. This paper aims to provide an adequate answer to both questions. Regarding (i), it shows that there can be a tension between two desiderata for a definition of lying: 'descriptive accuracy' (meeting intuitions about our ordinary concept of lying), and 'moral import' (meeting intuitions about (...) what is wrong with lying), vindicating the primacy of the former desideratum. Regarding (ii), it shows that Krauss' proposed 'worse-off requirement' meets neither of these desiderata, whereas the 'comparative insincerity condition' (Marsili 2014) can meet both. The conclusion is that lies are assertions that the speaker takes to be more likely to be false than true, and their distinctive blameworthiness is a function of the extent to which they violate a sincerity norm. (shrink)
The paper argues that the correct deﬁnition of lying is that to lie is to assert something one believes to be false, where assertion is understood in terms of the notion of the common ground of a conversation. It is shown that this deﬁnition makes the right predictions for a number of cases involving irony, joking, and false implicature. In addition, the proposed account does not assume that intending to deceive is a necessary condition on lying, and hence (...) counts so-called bald-faced lies as lies. (shrink)
As an empirical inquiry into the nature of meaning, semantics must rely on data. Unfortunately, the primary data to which philosophers and linguists have traditionally appealed—judgments on the truth and falsity of sentences—have long been known to vary widely between competent speakers in a number of interesting cases. The present article constitutes an experiment in how to obtain some more consistent data for the enterprise of semantics. Specifically, it argues from some widely accepted Gricean premises to the conclusion that judgments (...) on lying are semantically relevant. It then endeavors to show how, assuming the relevance of such judgments, we can use them to generate a useful, widely acceptable test for semantic content. (shrink)
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. (shrink)
I argue that lying is generally morally better than mere deliberate misleading because the latter involves the exploitation of a greater trust and more seriously abuses our willingness to fulfil epistemic and moral obligations to others. Whereas the liar relies on our figuring out and accepting only what is asserted, the mere deliberate misleader depends on our actively inferring meaning beyond what is said in the form of conversational implicatures as well. When others’ epistemic and moral obligations are determined (...) by standard assumptions of communicative cooperation and no compelling moral reason justifies mere deliberate misleading instead, one had better lie. (shrink)
The traditional view of lying holds that this phenomenon involves two central components: stating what one does not believe oneself and doing so with the intention to deceive. This view remained the generally accepted view of the nature of lying until very recently, with the intention-to-deceive requirement now coming under repeated attack. In this article, I argue that the tides have turned too quickly in the literature on lying. For while it is indeed true that there can (...) be lies where there is no intention on the part of the speaker to deceive the hearer, this does not warrant severing the connection between lying and deception altogether. Thus, I defend the following account of lying: A lies to B if and only if (1) A states that p to B, (2) A believes that p is false, and (3) A intends to be deceptive to B in stating that p. (shrink)
This paper defends the simple view that in asserting that p, one lies iff one knows that p is false. Along the way it draws some morals about deception, knowledge, Gettier cases, belief, assertion, and the relationship between first- and higher-order norms.
Almost all philosophers agree that a necessary condition on lying is that one says what one believes to be false. But, philosophers haven’t considered the possibility that the true requirement on lying concerns, rather, one’s degree-of-belief. Liars impose a risk on their audience. The greater the liar’s confidence that what she asserts is false, the greater the risk she’ll think she’s imposing on the dupe, and, therefore, the greater her blameworthiness. From this, I arrive at a dilemma: either (...) the belief requirement is wrong, or lying isn’t interesting. I suggest an alternative necessary condition for lying on a degree-of-belief framework. (shrink)
This essay argues that the distinction between lying and misleading while not lying is sensitive to discourse structure. It shows that whether an utterance is a lie or is merely misleading sometimes depends on the topic of conversation, represented by so-called questions under discussion. It argues that to mislead is to disrupt the pursuit of the goal of inquiry—that is, to discover how things are. Lying is seen as a special case requiring assertion of disbelieved information, where (...) assertion is characterized as a mode of contributing information to a discourse that is sensitive to the state of the discourse itself. The resulting account is applied to a number of ways of exploiting the lying-misleading distinction, involving conversational implicature, incompleteness, presuppositions, and prosodic focus. The essay shows that assertion, and hence lying, is preserved from subquestion to superquestion under a strict entailment relation between questions, and it discusses ways of lying and misleading in relation to multiple questions. (shrink)
This paper considers the phenomenon of lying and the implications it has for those subjects who are capable of lying. It is argued that lying is not just intentional untruthfulness, but is intentional untruthfulness plus an insincere invocation of trust. Understood in this way, lying demands of liars a sophistication in relation to themselves, to language, and to those to whom they lie which exceeds the demands on mere truth-tellers.
Survey of different definitions of lying and deceiving, with an emphasis on the contemporary debate between Thomas Carson, Roy Sorensen, Don Fallis, Jennifer Saul, Paul Faulkner, Jennifer Lackey, David Simpson, Andreas Stokke, Jorg Meibauer, Seana Shiffrin, and James Mahon, among others, over whether lies always aim to deceive. Related questions include whether lies must be assertions, whether lies always breach trust, whether it is possible to lie without using spoken or written language, whether lies must always be false, whether (...) lies that are unsuccessful are still lies, and whether deception must aim at creating false beliefs as opposed to preventing people from acquiring true beliefs. (shrink)
This article challenges Jennifer Jackson's recent defence of doctors' rights to deceive patients. Jackson maintains there is a general moral difference between lying and intentional deception: while doctors have a prima facie duty not to lie, there is no such obligation to avoid deception. This paper argues 1) that an examination of cases shows that lying and deception are often morally equivalent, and 2) that Jackson's position is premised on a species of moral functionalism that misconstrues the nature (...) of moral obligation. Against Jackson, it is argued that both lying and intentional deception are wrong where they infringe a patient's right to autonomy or his/her right to be treated with dignity. These rights represent 'deontological constraints' on action, defining what we must not do whatever the functional value of the consequences. Medical ethics must recognise such constraints if it is to contribute to the moral integrity of medical practice. (shrink)
We do not report lies with that-clauses but with about-clauses: he lied about x. It is argued that this is because the content of a lie need not be the content of what is said, and about-clauses give us the requisite flexibility. Building on the work of Stephen Yablo, an attempt is made to give an account of lying about in terms of partial content and topic.
Prior studies have demonstrated that social-cognitive factors such as children’s false-belief understanding and parenting style are related to children’s lie-telling behaviors. The present study aimed to investigate how earlier forms of theory-of-mind understanding contribute to children’s lie-telling as well as how parenting practices are related to children’s antisocial lie-telling behaviors. Seventy-three three-year-olds from Hangzhou, P. R. China were asked not to peek at a toy in the experimenter’s absence. The majority of children who peeked, lied about it. Children’s lies were (...) positively related to performance on the knowledge-ignorance theory-of-mind task. Additionally, Control parenting, characterized by high levels of monitoring and demanding, unquestioning obedience, was negatively related to three-year-olds’ lying. The relation between Control parenting and lie-telling was partially mediated by children’s theory-of-mind understanding. These findings suggest that children’s early lie-telling behaviors are influenced by social and social-cognitive factors. (shrink)
Sorensen says that my assertion that p is a knowledge-lie if it is meant to undermine your justification for believing truly that ∼p, not to make you believe that p and that, therefore, knowledge-lies are not intended to deceive. It has been objected that they are meant to deceive because they are intended to make you more confident in a falsehood. In this paper, I propose a novel account according to which an assertion that p is a knowledge-lie if it (...) is intended not to provide evidence that p but to make you stop trusting all testimonies concerning whether p, which is how they undermine your testimonial knowledge. Because they are not intended to provide evidence that bears on the truth of p, they are not intended to make you more confident in a falsehood; therefore, knowledge-lies are not intended to deceive. This makes them a problem for the traditional account, which takes the intention to deceive as necessary for lying, and an interesting example of Kant's idea that allowing lies whenever one feels like it would bring it about that statements in general are not believed. (shrink)
Lying and fiction both involve the deliberate production of statements that fail to obey Grice’s first Maxim of Quality (“do not say what you believe to be false”). The question thus arises if we can provide a uniform analysis for fiction and lies. In this chapter I discuss the similarities, but also some fundamental differences between lying and fiction. I argue that there’s little hope for a satisfying account within a traditional truth conditional semantic framework. Rather than immediately (...) moving to a fully pragmatic analysis involving distinct speech acts of fiction-making and lying, I will first explore how far we get with the assumption that both are simply assertions, analyzed in a Stalnakerian framework, i.e. as proposals to update the common ground. (shrink)
A standard view in social science and philosophy is that a lie is a dishonest assertion: to lie is to assert something that you think is false in order to deceive your audience. We report four behavioral experiments designed to evaluate some aspects of this view. Participants read short scenarios and judged several features of interest, including whether an agent lied. We found evidence that ordinary lie attributions can be influenced by aspects of audience uptake, are based on judging that (...) the agent made an assertion (assertion attributions), and, at least in some contexts, are not based on attributions of deceptive intent. The finding on assertion attributions is predicted by the standard view, but the finding on intent attributions is not. These results help to further clarify the ordinary concept of lying and shed light on the psychological processes involved in ordinary lie attributions and related judgments. (shrink)
According to the standard philosophical definition of lying, you lie if you say something that you believe to be false with the intent to deceive. Recently, several philosophers have argued that an intention to deceive is not a necessary condition on lying. But even if they are correct, it might still be suggested that the standard philosophical definition captures the type of lie that philosophers are primarily interested in (viz., lies that are intended to deceive). In this paper, (...) I argue that the standard philosophical definition is not adequate as a definition of deceptive lying either. I then suggest two plausible alternative definitions of this concept. (shrink)
This article discusses recent work on lying and its relation to deceiving and misleading. Two new developments in this area are considered: first, the acknowledgment of the phenomenon of lying without the intent to deceive , and second, recent work on the distinction between lying and merely misleading. Both are discussed in relation to topics in philosophy of language, the epistemology of testimony, and ethics. Critical surveys of recent theories are offered and challenges and open questions for (...) further research are indicated. (shrink)
Kant’s example of lying to the murderer at the door has been a cherished source of scorn for thinkers with little sympathy for Kant’s philosophy and a source of deep puzzlement for those more favorably inclined. The problem is that Kant seems to say that it’s always wrong to lie – even if necessary to prevent a murderer from reaching his victim – and that if one does lie, one becomes partially responsible for the killing of the victim. If (...) this is correct, then Kant’s account seems not only to require us to respect the murderer more than the victim, but also that we somehow can become responsible for the consequences that ultimately result from someone else’s wrongdoing. After World War II our spontaneous negative reaction to this apparently absurd line of argument is brought out even more starkly by making the murderer at the door a Nazi officer looking for Jews hidden in people’s homes. This paper argues that Kant’s discussion of lying to the murderer at the door has been seriously misinterpreted. The suggested root of the problem is that the Doctrine of Right has been given insufficient attention in Kant interpretation. It is in this work we find many of the arguments needed to understand Kant’s analysis of lying to the murderer in “On a Supposed Right to Lie from Philanthropy”. When we interpret this essay in light of Kant’s discussion in the Doctrine of Right, we can make sense of why lying to the murderer isn’t to wrong the murderer, why we nevertheless become responsible for the consequences of the lie and why choosing to lie to do wrong ‘in the highest degree’. Finally, the Doctrine of Right account of rightful relations makes it possible for us to analyze the example when we make the murderer at the door a Nazi officer. (shrink)
To understand one another as individuals and to fulfill the moral duties that require such understanding, we must communicate with each other. We must also maintain protected channels that render reliable communication possible, a demand that, Seana Shiffrin argues, yields a prohibition against lying and requires protection for free speech. This book makes a distinctive philosophical argument for the wrong of the lie and provides an original account of its difference from the wrong of deception. Drawing on legal as (...) well as philosophical arguments, the book defends a series of notable claims—that you may not lie about everything to the "murderer at the door," that you have reasons to keep promises offered under duress, that lies are not protected by free speech, that police subvert their mission when they lie to suspects, and that scholars undermine their goals when they lie to research subjects. Many philosophers start to craft moral exceptions to demands for sincerity and fidelity when they confront wrongdoers, the pressures of non-ideal circumstances, or the achievement of morally substantial ends. But Shiffrin consistently resists this sort of exceptionalism, arguing that maintaining a strong basis for trust and reliable communication through practices of sincerity, fidelity, and respecting free speech is an essential aspect of ensuring the conditions for moral progress, including our rehabilitation of and moral reconciliation with wrongdoers. (shrink)
A long-awaited major statement by pre-eminent analytic philosopher Alvin Plantinga, Where the Conflict Really Lies illuminates one of our society's biggest debates---the conflict between science and religion.Plantinga examines where this conflict is said to exist---looking at areas such as evolution, divine action in the world, and the scientific study of religion---and he considers claims by Daniel Dennett, Richard Dawkins, and Philip Kitcher that evolution and theistic belief cannot co-exist. He makes a case that their arguments are not only inconclusive, but (...) that the supposed conflicts themselves are superficial, due to the methodological naturalism used by science. On the other hand, science can actually offer support to theistic doctrines---for instance, some versions or intepretations of quantum mechanics provide useful model for divine action. He goes on to outline the deep and massive consonance between theism and the entire scientific enterprise. In the last chapter, Plantinga argues that one can't rationally or sensibly accept both current evolutionary theory and naturalism, the thought that there is no such person as God or anything like God.The book concludes that there is superficial conflict but deep concord between science and religion, in particular theistic religion, and superficial concord but deep conflict between naturalism and religion. (shrink)
There are many philosophical questions surrounding the notion of lying. Is it ever morally acceptable to lie? Can we acquire knowledge from people who might be lying to us? More fundamental, however, is the question of what, exactly, constitutes the concept of lying. According to one traditional definition, lying requires intending to deceive (Augustine. (1952). Lying (M. Muldowney, Trans.). In R. Deferrari (Ed.), Treatises on various subjects (pp. 53?120). New York, NY: Catholic University of America). (...) More recently, Thomas Carson (2006. The definition of lying. Nous, 40, 284?306) has suggested that lying requires warranting the truth of what you do not believe. This paper examines these two prominent definitions and some cases that seem to pose problems for them. Importantly, theorists working on this topic fundamentally disagree about whether these problem cases are genuine instances of lying and, thus, serve as counterexamples to the definitions on offer. To settle these disputes, we elicited judgments about the proposed counterexamples from ordinary language users unfettered by theoretical bias. The data suggest that everyday speakers of English count bald-faced lies and proviso lies as lies. Thus, we claim that a new definition is needed to capture common usage. Finally, we offer some suggestions for further research on this topic and about the moral implications of our investigation into the concept of lying. (shrink)
The traditional view of lying says that lying is a matter of intending to deceive others by making statements that one believes to be false. Jennifer Lackey has recently defended the following version of the traditional view: A lies to B just in case (i) A states that p to B, (ii) A believes that p is false and (iii) A intends to be deceptive to B in stating that p. I argue that, despite all the virtues that (...) Lackey ascribes to her view, conditions (i), (ii) and (iii) are not sufficient for lying. (shrink)
This paper outlines an account of the ethics of lying, which accommodates two main ideas about lying. The first of these, Anti-Deceptionalism, is the view that lying does not necessarily involve intentions to deceive. The second, Anti-Absolutism, is the view that lying is not always morally wrong. It is argued that lying is not wrong in itself, but rather the wrong in lying is explained by different factors in different cases. In some cases such (...) factors may include deceptive intentions on the part of the liar. In other cases, where such intentions are not found, the wrong in lying may be explained by other factors. Moreover, it is argued that the interaction between considerations against lying and considerations against telling the truth are sensitive to the practical interests of those lied to. When the topic of the lie in question matters little to the victim's rational decision making, the threshold for when considerations against telling the truth can outweigh considerations against lying are lowered. This account is seen to explain why lying to avoid little harm is sometimes permissible, and sometimes not. (shrink)
This article defends the view that liars need not intend to deceive. I present common objections to this view in detail and then propose a case of a liar who can lie but who cannot deceive in any relevant sense. I then modify this case to get a situation in which this person lies intending to tell his hearer the truth and he does this by way of getting the hearer to recognize his intention to tell the truth by (...) class='Hi'>lying. This case, and further cases that I develop from it, demonstrate that lying without the intention to deceive is possible. (shrink)
The standard view in social science and philosophy is that lying does not require the liar’s assertion to be false, only that the liar believes it to be false. We conducted three experiments to test whether lying requires falsity. Overall, the results suggest that it does. We discuss some implications for social scientists working on social judgments, research on lie detection, and public moral discourse.
Tom Dougherty argues that culpably deceiving another person into sex is seriously wrong no matter what the content about which she is deceived. We argue that his explanation of why deception invalidates consent has extremely implausible implications. Though we reject Dougherty’s explanation, we defend his verdict about deception and consent to sex. We argue that he goes awry by conflating the disclosure requirement for consent and the understanding requirement. When these are distinguished, we can identify how deceptive disclosure invalidates consent. (...) This alternative explanation also allows for a response to Neil Manson’s recent criticisms of Dougherty’s argument. (shrink)
According to the subjective view of lying, speakers can lie by asserting a true proposition, as long as they believe this proposition to be false. This view contrasts with the objective view, according to which lying requires the actual falsity of the proposition asserted. The aim of this paper is to draw attention to pairs of assertions that differ only in intuitively redundant content and to show that such pairs of assertions are a reason to favour the subjective (...) view of lying over the objective one. (shrink)