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What is Lying?

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

35 Pages Posted: 27 Aug 2010  

Don Fallis

University of Arizona

Date Written: April 6, 2009


In order to lie, you have to say something that you believe to be false. But this clearly is not sufficient for lying. Thus, philosophers have proposed several additional conditions (e.g., that a liar has to intend to deceive, or that a liar has to warrant the truth of what she says). I argue that none of the conditions that have been proposed so far are necessary for lying. I argue that lying is saying what you believe to be false when you believe that the following (Gricean) norm of conversation is in effect: "Do not say what you believe to be false."

Keywords: Lying, Definition, Philosophy, Grice

Suggested Citation

Fallis, Don, What is Lying? (April 6, 2009). Journal of Philosophy, 106, 1, (2009): 29-56. Available at SSRN:

Don Fallis (Contact Author)

University of Arizona ( email )

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