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What is Deceptive Lying?

14 Pages Posted: 3 Nov 2010  

Don Fallis

University of Arizona

Date Written: November 2, 2010


According to a popular definition, you lie if you say something that you believe is false with the intent to deceive about what you say. However, there are two respects in which this definition fails to capture the phenomenon that is of interest to moral philosophers. First, this definition does not count as lies cases where you intend to deceive your audience about your believing what you say rather than about what you say. Second, it handles inconsistently cases where you say something because you know that your audience does not trust you and will likely conclude that you believe something else. I propose a new definition of lying that handles both doxastic misdirection cases and double bluffing cases correctly. Basically, you lie if you say something that you believe is false with the intention of deceiving someone about something on which you have invited him to trust you.

Keywords: lying, deception, definition, invite trust, betray trust

Suggested Citation

Fallis, Don, What is Deceptive Lying? (November 2, 2010). Available at SSRN: or

Don Fallis (Contact Author)

University of Arizona ( email )

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