Are Bald-Faced Lies Deceptive After All?

19 Pages Posted: 14 Apr 2013

Date Written: April 12, 2013


According to the traditional philosophical definition, you lie if and only if you say something that you believe to be false and you intend to deceive someone into believing what you say. However, philosophers have recently noted the existence of bald-faced lies, lies which are not intended to deceive anyone into believing what is said. As a result, many philosophers have removed deception from their definitions of lying. According to Jennifer Lackey, this is “an unhappy divorce” because it precludes an obvious explanation of the prima facie wrongness of lying. Moreover, Lackey claims that there is a sense of deception in which all lies are deceptive. In this paper, I argue that bald-faced lies are not deceptive on any plausible notion of deception. In addition, I argue that divorcing deception from lying is not as unhappy a result as Lackey suggests.

Keywords: Lying, Deception, Bald-faced Lies, Concealing Information, Jennifer Lackey

Suggested Citation

Fallis, Don, Are Bald-Faced Lies Deceptive After All? (April 12, 2013). Available at SSRN: or

Don Fallis (Contact Author)

Northeastern University ( email )

360 Huntington Ave,
Boston, MA 02115
United States


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