Davidson Was Almost Right about Lying
Australasian Journal of Philosophy, Forthcoming
27 Pages Posted: 28 Jun 2012
Date Written: June 19, 2012
Donald Davidson once suggested that a liar “must intend to represent himself as believing what he does not.” In this paper, I argue that, while Davidson was mistaken about lying in a few important respects, his main insight yields a very attractive definition of lying. Namely, you lie if and only if you say something that you do not believe and you intend to represent yourself as believing what you say. Moreover, I show that this Davidsonian definition can handle counter-examples that undercut four prominent definitions of lying: viz., the traditional intend-to-deceive definition, Thomas Carson’s definition, Don Fallis’s definition, and Andreas Stokke’s definition.
Keywords: Lying, Conceptual Analysis, Donald Davidson
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