Kant versus Skyrms on Universal Deception

11 Pages Posted: 4 Nov 2012

Date Written: November 3, 2012

Abstract

Immanuel Kant famously argued that it would be self-defeating for everyone to follow a maxim of lying whenever it is to her advantage. In his recent book Signals, Brian Skyrms claims that Kant was wrong. First, he argues that there are Lewisian signaling games in which, whenever it would be beneficial to deceive the receiver, the sender sends a signal that deceives. Second, Skyrms argues that there are even signaling games in which the sender always sends a signal that deceives. I argue here that, while Skyrms is right on the first count, he is wrong on the second. While it is not always self-defeating for everyone to follow a maxim of lying whenever it is to her advantage, this is only because it is not always beneficial to mislead. If it were, then universal deception would be futile. Thus, there is sense in which Kant was right after all.

Keywords: deception, signaling games, Kant, lying

Suggested Citation

Fallis, Don, Kant versus Skyrms on Universal Deception (November 3, 2012). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2170844 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2170844

Don Fallis (Contact Author)

Northeastern University ( email )

360 Huntington Ave,
Boston, MA 02115
United States

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

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
73
rank
310,716
Abstract Views
673
PlumX Metrics