What Is Lying

Journal of Philosophy 106 (1):29-56 (2009)
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Abstract

In order to lie, you have to say something that you believe to be false. But lying is not simply saying what you believe to be false. Philosophers have made several suggestions for what the additional condition might be. For example, it has been suggested that the liar has to intend to deceive (Augustine 395, Bok 1978, Mahon 2006), that she has to believe that she will deceive (Chisholm and Feehan 1977), or that she has to warrant the truth of what she says (Carson 2006). In this paper, I argue that none of the existing definitions of lying identify a necessary condition on lying. I claim that lying is saying what you believe to be false when you believe that the following norm of conversation is in effect: "Do not say what you believe to be false" (Grice 1989, 27). And I argue that this definition handles all of the counter-examples to the existing definitions

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Don Fallis
Northeastern University

Citations of this work

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