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

Suggested Citation

Fallis, Don, Davidson Was Almost Right about Lying (June 19, 2012). Australasian Journal of Philosophy, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2095700

Don Fallis (Contact Author)

Northeastern University ( email )

360 Huntington Ave,
Boston, MA 02115
United States

HOME PAGE: http://philpeople.org/profiles/don-fallis

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