The Definition of Lying and Deception (2024)

Questions central to the philosophical discussion of lying to othersand other-deception (interpersonal deceiving) may be divided into twokinds. Questions of the first kind are definitional or conceptual.They include the questions of how lying is to be defined, howdeceiving is to be defined, and whether lying is always a form ofdeceiving. Questions of the second kind are normative — moreparticularly, moral. They include the questions of whether lying anddeceiving are either defeasibly or non-defeasibly morally wrong,whether lying is morally worse than deceiving, and whether, if lyingand deception are defeasibly morally wrong, they are merely morallyoptional on certain occasions, or are sometimes morally obligatory. Inthis entry, we only consider questions of the first kind.

1. Traditional Definition of Lying

There is no universally accepted definition of lying to others. Thedictionary definition of lying is “to make a false statementwith the intention to deceive” (OED 1989) but there arenumerous problems with this definition. It is both too narrow, sinceit requires falsity, and too broad, since it allows for lying aboutsomething other than what is being stated, and lying to someone who isbelieved to be listening in but who is not being addressed.

The most widely accepted definition of lying is the following:“A lie is a statement made by one who does not believe it withthe intention that someone else shall be led to believe it”(Isenberg 1973, 248) (cf. “[lying is] making a statement believedto be false, with the intention of getting another to accept it astrue” (Primoratz 1984, 54n2)). This definition does not specifythe addressee, however. It may be restated as follows:

  • (L1)To lie =df to make a believed-false statement toanother person with the intention that the other person believe thatstatement to be true.

L1 is the traditional definition of lying. According to L1, thereare at least four necessary conditions for lying. First, lying requiresthat a person make a statement (statement condition). Second, lyingrequires that the person believe the statement to be false; that is,lying requires that the statement be untruthful (untruthfulnesscondition). Third, lying requires that the untruthful statement be madeto another person (addressee condition). Fourth, lying requires thatthe person intend that that other person believe the untruthfulstatement to be true (intention to deceive the addresseecondition).

These four necessary conditions need to be explained beforeobjections to L1 can be entertained and alternativedefinitions can be considered.

1.1 Statement Condition

According to the statement condition, lying requires that a personmake a statement. Making a statement requires the use of conventionalsigns, or symbols. Conventional signs, such as“WOMEN” on the door to a restroom, are opposed to naturalor causal signs, or indices, such as women coming in and outof a restroom, as well as signs that signify by resemblance, oricons, such as a figure with a triangular dress on the doorto a restroom (cf. Grotius 2005, 2001; Pierce 1955; Grice1989). Making a statement, therefore, requires the use of language. Acommonly accepted definition of making a statement is thefollowing: “x states that p to y=df (1) x believes that there is an expressionE and a language L such that one of the standard usesof E in L is that of expressing the propositionp; (2) x utters E with the intention ofcausing y to believe that he, x, intended to utterE in that standard use” (Chisholm and Feehan 1977,150).

It is possible for a person to make a statement using American SignLanguage, smoke signals, Morse code, semaphore flags, and so forth, aswell as by making specific bodily gestures whose meanings have beenestablished by convention (e.g., nodding one's head in response to aquestion). Hence, it is possible to lie by these means. If it isgranted that a person is not making a statement when he wearsa wig, gives a fake smile, affects a limp, and so forth, it followsthat a person cannot be lying by doing these things (Siegler 1966,128). If it is granted that a person is not making astatement when, for example, she wears a wedding ring when she is notmarried, or wears a police uniform when she is not a police officer,it follows that she cannot be lying by doing these things.

In the case of a person who does not utter a declarativesentence, but who curses, or makes an interjection or anexclamation, or issues a command or an exhortation, or asks a question,or says “Hello,” then, if it is granted that she isnot making a statement when she does any of these things, it followsthat she cannot be lying by doing these things (Green 2001,163–164; but see Leonard 1959).

An ironic statement, or a statement made as part of a joke, or astatement made by an actor while acting, or a statement made in anovel, is still a statement. More formally, the statement condition ofL1 obeys the following three constraints (Stokke 2013a, 41):

  1. If x makes a statement, this does not entailthat x believes the statement to be true;
  2. If x makes a statement, this does not entailthat x intends her audience to believe the statement to betrue;
  3. If x makes a statement, this does not entailthat x intends her audience to believe that xbelieves the statement to be true.

The statement condition is to be distinguished from a differentputative necessary condition for lying, namely, the condition that anassertion be made. The assertioncondition is not a necessary condition for lying, according to L1. Forexample, if Yin, who does not have a girlfriend, but who wants peopleto believe that he has a girlfriend, makes the ironic statement“Yeah, right, I have a girlfriend” in response to aquestion from his friend, Bolin, who believes that Yin is secretlydating someone, with the intention that Bolin believe that he actuallydoes have a girlfriend, then this ‘irony lie’ is alie according to L1, although it is not an assertion.

According to the statement condition, it is not possible to lie byomitting to make a statement (Mahon 2003; Griffiths 2004, 33).So-called ‘lies of omission’ (or ‘passivelying’ (Opie 1825)) are not lies (Douglas 1976, 59; Dynel 2011,154). All lies are lies of commission. It is possible for a person tolie by remaining ‘silent,’ if the ‘silence’ isa previously agreed upon signal with others that is equivalent tomaking a statement (Fried 1978, 57). However, such a lie would not be a‘lie of omission’ (see People v. Meza (1987) inwhich, on the basis of Californian Evidence Code that“‘Statement’” included “nonverbal conductof a person intended by him as a substitute for oral or written verbalexpression,” prospective juror’s Eric Luis Meza’ssilence and failure to raise his hand in response to questions was“taken for a negative answer, i.e., a negative statement”(People v. Meza 1987, 1647) and he was found guilty ofperjury).

Note that the statement condition, all by itself, does not requirethat the statement be made to another person, or even that it beexpressed aloud or in writing. One’s inner statements to oneselfare statements, and, if other conditions are also met, can be“internal lies” (Kant 1996, 553–554).

1.2 Untruthfulness Condition

According to the untruthfulness condition, lying requires that aperson make an untruthful statement, that is, make astatement that she believes to be false. Note that thiscondition is to be distinguished from the putative necessary conditionfor lying that the statement that the person makes be false(Grotius 2005, 1209; Krishna 1961, 146). The falsity condition is nota necessary condition for lying according to L1.

Statements thatare truthful may be false. If George makes thestatement to Hillary (with the intention that Hillary believe that statementto be true), “The enemy has weapons of mass destruction,”and that statement is false, he is not lying ifhe does not believe that statement to be false.

Statements that are untruthful may be true. In Jean-PaulSartre’s short-story, The Wall, set during the SpanishCivil War, Pablo Ibbieta, a prisoner sentenced to be executed by theFascists, is interrogated by his guards as to the whereabouts of hiscomrade Ramon Gris. Mistakenly believing Gris to be hiding with hiscousins, he makes the untruthful statement to them that “Gris ishiding in the cemetery” (with the intention that they believethis statement to be true). As it happens, Gris is hiding in thecemetery, and the statement is true. Gris is arrested at the cemetery,and Ibbieta is released (Sartre 1937; cf. Siegler 1966: 130).According to L1, Ibbieta lied to his interrogators, although theuntruthful statement he made to them was true, and he did not deceivethem about the whereabouts of Gris (Isenberg 1973, 248; Mannison 1969,138; Lindley, 1971; Kupfer 1982, 104; Faulkner 2013).

If a person makes a truthful statement with the intention to deceiveanother person, then she is not lying, according to the untruthfulnesscondition. For example, if John and Mary are dating, and Valentino isMary’s ex-boyfriend, and one evening “John asks Mary,‘Have you seen Valentino this week?,’” and“Mary answers: ‘Valentino’s been sick withmononucleosis for the past two weeks,’” and“Valentino has in fact been sick with mononucleosis for the pasttwo weeks, but it is also the case that Mary had a date with Valentinothe night before” (Coleman and Kany 1981, 31), then Mary is notlying to John, even if she is attempting to deceive John. This is whatis called a palter (see Schauer and Zeckhauser 2009; theyillegitimately add that a palter must succeed in deceiving),or a false implicature (Adler 1997), or an attempt tomislead (Saul 2012b; Webber 2013).

In addition to palters not being lies, a double bluff is nota lie either according to the untruthfulness condition. If one makes atruthful statement, intending one’s addressee to believe thatthe statement is false, then one is not lying. Consider the followingjoke about two travelers on a train from Moscow (reputed to be SigmundFreud's favorite joke) (Cohen 2002, 328):

Trofim: Where are you going?
Pavel: To Pinsk.
Trofim: Liar! You say you are going to Pinsk in order to make mebelieve you are going to Minsk. But I know you are going toPinsk.

Pavel does not lie to Trofim, since his statement to Trofim istruthful, even if he intends that Trofim be deceived by this doublebluff.

One implication of the untruthfulness condition is that if a personmakes a statement that she believes to be neither true nor false, thenshe cannot be lying (Siegler 1966, 133; cf. Strawson 1952, 173). Forexample, if a person begging for money says “All my children needmedical attention,” but believes that this proposition is neithertrue nor false, because he has no children, then he is not lying, evenif he is attempting to deceive (Chisholm and Feehan 1977, 155–6; butsee Siegler 1966, 135).

It is a matter of debate as to whether it is possible to lie usingmetaphors. For example, if a gardener who has had a very bad crop oftomatoes says “We’ve got tomatoes coming out of ourears,” intending to deceive about his having a bumper crop, thenthis untruthful statement made with an intention to deceive istypically not considered a lie, because the untruthful statement ismetaphorical (Saul 2012, 16). Nevertheless, some argue that it ispossible to lie using metaphors (Adler 1997, 444 n. 27; Griffiths2004, 36; Dynel 2011, 149). If literally false metaphoricalstatements can be truthful statements, according to the beliefs of thespeaker, and hence, can be untruthful statements, according to thebeliefs of the speaker, then the deceptive gardener is lying in thisexample according to L1.

1.3 Addressee Condition

According to the addressee condition, lying requires that a personmake an untruthful statement to another person (or,strictly speaking, to a believed other person, since onemight, e.g., mistake a waxed dummy for another person, and lie to it).That is, lying requires that a person address another person(Simpson 1992, 626). According to L1, it is not possible for me to lie tono one whatsoever (i.e., not even myself), and it is notpossible to lie to someone whom one is not addressing but whom onebelieves is listening in on a conversation. For example, if Mickey andDanny both believe that the F.B.I. is monitoring their telephoneconversation, and Mickey says to Danny, “The pick-up is atmidnight tomorrow,” with the intention of deceiving the FBIagents listening in, then Mickey is not lying to the F.B.I. agents(this is a “bogus disclosure” (Newey 1997, 115)).

According to L1, it is possible to lie to a generalaudience. It is possible for a person to lie by publishing anuntruthful report about an event (Kant 1997, 203), or by making anuntruthful statement on a tax return, or by sending an untruthfule-mail to everyone on a mailing list, or by making an untruthfulstatement in a magazine advertisem*nt or a television commercial. Inthese cases, the readers, hearers, watchers, etc., are the addressees.

According to the addressee condition, lying necessarily involvesaddressing someone whom you believe to be a person capable ofunderstanding your statement and forming beliefs on that basis. It isnot possible to lie to those whom you believe to be non-persons(goldfish, dogs, robots, etc.) or persons whom you believe cannotunderstand the statements that are made to them (infants, the insane,etc., as well as those whom you believe cannot understand the languageyou are speaking in). It is possible to lie to other persons viaintermediaries which are not persons, however (e.g., entering falseanswers to questions asked by a bank’s ATM).

1.4 Intention to Deceive the Addressee Condition

According to the intention to deceive the addressee condition, lyingrequires that a person make an untruthful statement to another personwith the intention that that other person believe thatuntruthful statement to be true. Making ironic statements, telling jokes,writing fiction, acting in a play, and so forth, without theintention that the addressee believe these untruthful statements to betrue, is not lying (Morris 1976, 391).

If x makes an untruthful statement to y,without the intention that y believe that untruthfulstatement to be true, but with the intention that ybelieve something else to be true that xbelieves to be true, then x is not lying toy, according to L1. Examples of such non-deceptive untruthfulstatements include polite untruths (Kant 1997, 27; Mahon 2003,109). For example, if servant Igor makes the untruthful statement tounwelcome visitor Damian, “Madam is not at home,”without the intention that Damian believe it to be true thatshe is not home (that would be lying on Igor’s part), butwith the intention that Damian believe it to be true that itis inconvenient for Madam to see Damian now, something that Igorbelieves to be true, then according to L1, Igor is not lying to Damian(Isenberg 1973, 256). However, for Igor to intend that Damian believethis, it must be the case that Igor believes that this is howDamian understands “Madam is not at home.” Polite untruthsmay be said to be examples of “falsifications but notlies,” since the person “says just what etiquettedemands” (Shiffrin 2014, 19). As it has been said aboutuntruthful statements situations “in which politeness requiressome sort of remark” and the other person “knows quite wellthat the statement is false,” such statements “are notreally lies” (Coleman and Kay 1981, 29). They are betterconsidered as cases of speaking in code. Another example of anon-deceptive untruthful statement is what has been called an“altruistic lie” (Fallis 2009, 50; cf. Augustine1952, 57), such as when a speaker makes an untruthful statement to ahearer whom he believes distrusts him, in order that the hearer willbelieve something that the speaker believes to be true.This is not a lie according to L1.

Such non-deceptive untruths are not to be confused with whitelies, i.e., harmless lies (Bok 1978, 58; Sweetser 1987, 54; 52 n.73) or prosocial lies (also called social lies),i.e., lies that do not harm social life but protect it (Meibauer 2014,152; Sweetser 1987, 54), or fibs, i.e., inconsequential liestold for selfish reasons (Sweetser 1987, 54). White lies, prosociallies, and fibs are all intentionally deceptive, and are all liesaccording to L1 (Green 2001, 169). For example, “both Americanand Ecuadorian cultures would probably consider Jacobo’s replyto be a white lie,” and hence deceptive, in the following casepresented to Ecuadorians by linguists: “Teresa just bought a newdress. Upon trying it on for the first time, she asks her husbandJacobo, ‘Does it look good on me?’ Jacobo responds,‘Yes’ even though he really thinks that the dress is uglyand too tight” (Hardin 2010, 3207; cf. Dynel 2011, 160). Or, totake another example, “Some people would call it a white lie totell a dying person whatever he or she needs to hear to die inpeace” (Sweetser 1987, 54). Note that both white lies andprosocial lies are to be distinguished from “lies which mostpeople would think justified by some higher good achieved but whichwould not be called white lies [or prosocial lies], since theirinformational consequences are too major (however moral),” suchas “to lie to the Gestapo about the location of a Jew”(Sweetser 1987, 54).

According to the untruthfulness condition, it is not merely the casethat the person who makes the untruthful statement intends that someother person believe the untruthful statement to be true; the personintends that the addressee believe the untruthful statementto be true. Also, according to this condition, it is not merely thecase that the person intends that the addressee believe some statementto be true that the person believes to be false; the person intendsthat the addressee believe to be true the untruthful statementthat is made to the addressee. If Maximilian is a crime boss, andAlessandro is one of his henchmen, whom he secretly believes is apolice informant, and Maximilian makes the untruthful statement toAlessandro “There are no informants in my organization,”without the intention that Alessandro believe that statement to betrue, but with the intention that Alessandro believe thatMaximilian believes that statement to be true, thenMaximilian is not lying according to L1 (Mahon 2008, 220). (Maximilianhas, of course, attempted to deceive Alessandro). This conclusion hasprompted some to revise L1 to include more than one intention todeceive.

According to the untruthfulness condition, it is sufficient for lying that theperson who makes the untruthful statement intends that theaddressee believe the untruthful statement to be true; it is notnecessary that the addressee believe the untruthful statement to betrue. That is, a lie remains a lie if it is disbelieved. IfSophie makes the untruthful statement to Nicole “I didn’tget any homework today,” with the intention that Nicole believethat statement to be true, and if Nicole does not believe thatstatement to be true, then Sophie is still lying. This is because‘lie’ is not an achievement or success verb, and an act oflying is not a perlocutionary act. The existence of an act of lyingdoes not depend upon the production of a particular response or statein the addressee (Mannison 1969, 135; Wood 1973: 199; MacCormick 1983,9 n. 23; but see Reboul 1994). As it has been said, “It is veryodd to think that whether a speaker lieshinges upon the persuasiveness of the speaker or the credulityof the listener” (Shiffrin 2014, 13).

Because L1 does not have an assertion condition, however, according toL1 it is possible to lie by making ironic statements, telling jokes,writing fiction, acting in a play, and so forth, if the person makingthe untruthful statement (somehow) intends that it be believed to betrue, as in the case of the ‘irony lie’ above. Similarly,if someone intends to deceive using a joke—for example, if conartist David says “Yeah, I am a billionaire. That's why I am inthis dive” to his mark, Greg, at a bar, intending that Gregbelieve that David is a billionaire who is attempting to to passincognito in a bar—then this ‘joke lie’ is a lieaccording to L1. If a novelist were to write a novel with theintention that her audience believe that this was a true storydisguised as a novel—a pretend roman à clef—then this ‘fiction lie’ would be a lie accordingto L1. If an actor in a play were to deliver an untruthful statementwith the intention that his audience believe the statement to be true—say, if an an actor delivered a line about his life being tooshort with the intention that the audience believed that the actorwas actually dying from some disease (“it is possible that theperformance is part of an elaborate deception aimed at getting membersof the audience to believe that the particular line from the play isactually true” (Fallis 2009, 56))—then this‘acting lie’ would be a lie according to L1.

1.5 Objections to the Traditional Definition of Lying

Two kinds of objections have been made to L1. First, objections havebeen made to each necessary condition, on the basis that it is notnecessary for lying. According to these objections, L1 is toonarrow. Second, objections have been made to the four necessaryconditions being jointly sufficient for lying, on the basis that somefurther condition is necessary for lying. According to theseobjections, L1 is too broad.

1.5.1 Conditions Are Not Necessary

Against the statement condition of L1 it has been objected that themaking of a statement is not necessary for lying. Lying to others maybe defined as “any form of behavior the function ofwhich is to provide others with false information or to deprive them oftrue information” (Smith 2004, 14), or as “a successfulor unsuccessful deliberate attempt, without forewarning, to create inanother a belief which the communicator considers to beuntrue” (Vrij 2000, 6). Importantly, this entails that lying canconsist of simply withholding information with the intent to deceive,without making any statement at all (Ekman 1985, 28; Scott 2006, 4).Those who make this objection would make lying the same asintentionally deceiving (Ekman 1985, 26).

Against the untruthfulness condition of L1 it has been objected thatan untruthful statement is not necessary for lying. This objectioncomes in a variety of forms. There are those who argue any statementmade with an intention to deceive is a lie, including a truthfulstatement that is made with an intention to deceive (Barnes 1994, 11;Davidson 1980, 88). Lying may thus be defined as “anyintentionally deceptive message that is stated” (Bok1978, 13). There are also those who, relying upon a Gricean account ofconversational implicature (Grice 1989, 39)), argue that someone whomakes a truthful statement but who thereby conversationally implicatesa believed-false statement is lying (Meibauer 2011, 285;2014a). Importantly, such an “untruthful implicature”(Dynel 2011, 159–160) is “directly intended” (Adler1997, 446). Thirdly, there are those who argue for the possibility of“lying ironically” (Simpson 1992, 631), or indirect lying.If a speaker makes an ironic untruthful statement, then “Throughthis presentation of himself as insincerely asserting he presentshimself as believing” the opposite of what he says, which is“capacity to… assert in-effect” (Simpson 1992,630). If the person is “insincere in this” and actuallydoes believe in the truth of what he states, despite invoking trust inhis believing its opposite, then “this is a lie (an indirectlie, we might say)” (Simpson 1992, 630). For example, if aperson who is listening to a sappy pop song at a party is asked if shelikes this kind of music and replies, ironically, “Yeah, right,I love this kind of music,” then she is lying if she actuallydoes love this kind of music (cf. Dynel 2011,148–149).

Against the untruthfulness condition it has also been objected thatit is not necessary for lying that the statement that is made isbelieved to be false; it is sufficient that the statement is notbelieved to be true, or is believed to be probably false(Carson 2006, 298; 2010, 18). As it has been claimed, “Agnosticsabout the truth of their assertions who nonetheless assert them withoutqualification tell lies” (Shiffrin 2014, 13).

Against the addressee condition of L1 it has been objected that it issufficient for lying that the untruthful statement is made, even if itis made to no one — not even to oneself (Griffiths 2004,31). Lying may thus be defined as “conscious expression of otherthan what we believe” (Shibles 1985, 33). It has also beenobjected that it is possible to lie to third parties who are notaddressees. In general, it is possible to distinguish between caseswhere “the hearer eavesdrops, unbeknown to the firstand second parties” (eavesdropping), cases where“the speaker utters p to the interlocutor while thehearer, with the awareness of both other parties, listens in and knowsthat the first- and second-party know he is listening in…although it is for the interlocutor that the utterance isintended” (kibbitzing), as well as cases similar tokibbitzing except that “the utterance is also intended for thehearer [who knows that they know that he is listening in]”(disclosure), and cases similar to disclosure “exceptthat although the first and second parties know that the hearer islistening in, the hearer does not know that they are listeningin” (bogus disclosure) (Newey 1997, 115). Even if it isnot possible to lie to eavesdroppers, or to those merely listening in,as in the case of kibbitzing, it may be possible to lie in the casesof bogus disclosure, as in the example above of Mickey saying toDanny, “The pick-up is at midnight tomorrow,” with theintention of deceiving the F.B.I. agents listening in. It may even bepossible to lie in the case of disclosure. In the 1978 thrillerCapricorn One about a Mars landing hoax, during a nationallytelevised transmission between the astronauts ‘in space’and their wives at the control center, which is being monitoredclosely by NASA handlers, Colonel Charles Brubaker tells his wife Kayto tell his son that “When I get back, I’m gonna take himto Yosemite again, like last summer.” In fact he brought his sonto a different place the previous summer (Flatbush, where a movie wasbeing shot), something that his wife knows. According to thisobjection, Brubaker is lying to his NASA handlers aboutwhat he did last summer, even if they are not his addressees.

Against the addressee condition it has also been objected that itis possible to lie to an animal, a robot, etc., as well as towhat might be another person—for example, if a homeowner, woken up in the middle of the night and wondering if there areburglars below the stairs, shouts down, “I’m bringing my rifledown there,” although he has no rifle (Chisholm and Feehan 1977,157).

Against the intention to deceive the addressee condition of L1 ithas been objected that, even if an intention to deceive the addresseeis required for lying, it is not necessary that it be an intention todeceive the addressee about the content of the untruthfulstatement; it may be an intention to deceive the addressee about thebeliefs of the speaker abut the statement—specifically,the belief that the untruthful statement is true (Chisholm and Feehan1977, 152; Williams 2002, 74; Reboul 1994, 294; Mahon 2008, 220;Tollefsen 2014, 24).

There are at least two ways in which L1 could be modified inresponse to this objection. First, it could be held that what isessential to lying is the intention to deceive the hearer about thespeaker’s belief that the untruthful statement is true:“x utters a sentence, ‘S,’ where‘S’ means that p, in doing whicheither x expresses his belief that p, or xintends the person addressed to take it that x believesthat p” (Williams 2002, 74) and “the speakerbelieves [p] to be false” (Williams 2002,96–97). L1 could therefore be modified as follows:

  • (L2)To lie =df to make a statement that p,where p is believed to be false, to another person, with theintention that the other person believe that p is believed tobe true. (cf. Williams 2002, 74, 96–97)

Alternatively, L1 could be modified to incorporate either intention,as follows:

  • (L3)To lie =df to make a believed-false statement(to another person), either with the intention that that statement bebelieved to be true (by the other person), or with the intention thatit be believed (by the other person) that that statement is believed tobe true (by the person making the statement), or with bothintentions. (Mahon 2008, 227–228)

Against this condition it has also been argued that it is notnecessary that it be an intention to deceive the addressee about eitherthe content of the untruthful statement or about the beliefs of thespeaker about the untruthful statement. It is sufficient that there isan intention to deceive about some matter—that is, itis sufficient that the speaker intend that the hearer believe to betrue something that the speaker believes to be false. Notethat those who make this objection would turn lying into anydeception involving untruthful statements. If thisobjection were combined with the objection that lying could be directedto third parties (as in bogus disclosure, or disclosure), L1 could bemodified, as follows:

  • (L4)To lie =df to make a believed-false statement, toanother person or in the believed hearing of another person, with theintention that some other person—the person addressed or theother person in the believed hearing—believe somebelieved-false statement to be true. (Newey 1997, 100)

Against this condition it has also been objected that although thereis “a necessary relationship between lying and deception,”nevertheless this intention should be understood merely as theintention to be deceptive to another person, which is theintention “to conceal information” from the otherperson (Lackey 2013, 5–7). According to this objection, concealingevidence, understood as hiding evidence or keeping evidence secret,counts as being deceptive to another person. L1 could be modified, asfollows:

  • (L5)x lies to y if and only if (i) x statesthat p to y, (ii) x believes that p isfalse and (iii) x intends to be deceptive to y instating that p. (Lackey 2013, 237)

Finally, against this intention to deceive the addressee condition ithas been objected that no intention to deceive is required for lying(Shibles 1985, 33; Kemp and Sullivan 1993, 153; Griffiths 2004, 31;Carson et al. 1982; Carson 1988; 2006; 2010; Sorensen 2007;2010; 2011; Fallis, 2009; 2010; 2012; 2015; Saul, 2012a; 2012b; Stokke2013a, 2013b; 2014; Shiffrin 2014). If the sworn-in witness in thetrial of a violent criminal goes on the record and gives untruthfultestimony—in order, for example, to avoid being killed by thedefendant or any of his criminal associates—without anyintention that that testimony be believed to be true by any person(not the jury, the judge, the lawyers, the journalists covering thetrial, the people in the gallery, the readers of the newspaperreports, etc.), then the witness is still lying (but see Jones1986). Such non-deceptive lies are lies according to this objection(but see Lackey 2013 for the argument that these lies areintentionally deceptive, and Fallis 2015 for the argument that theyare not intentionally deceptive).

1.5.2 Conditions Are Not Jointly Sufficient

It has been objected that L1 is not sufficient for lying because it isalso necessary that the untruthful statement be false (Coleman and Kay1981, 28; OED, 1989; Moore 2000). This is the falsitycondition for lying (Grimaltos and Rosell forthcoming, see OtherInternet Resources). For most objectors the falsity conditionsupplements L1 and makes this definition of lying even narrower (e.g.,Coleman and Kay 1981). For other objectors the falsity condition ispart of a different definition of lying, and makes that definitionnarrower (Carson 2006, 284; 2010, 17; Saul 2012b, 6).

It has been objected that L1 is not sufficient for lying because it isalso necessary to intend that that other person believe that thatstatement is believed to be true (Frankfurt 1999, 96; Simpson1992, 625; Faulkner 2007, 527). If Harry makes the untruthfulstatement “I have no change in my pocket” to Michael, butHarry does not intend that Michael believe that Harry believes it tobe true, then Harry is not lying to Michael, even if Harry intendsthat Michael believe it to be true (Frankfurt 1986, 85; 1999,96). This additional condition would make L1 even narrower, since itwould have the result that Maximilian is not lying to Alessandro inthe example above.

Finally, it has been objected that L1 is insufficient because lyingrequires that an untruthful assertion be made, and not merelythat an untruthful statement be made. This is the assertion conditionfor lying. According to this objection, one is not lying when one makesa deceptive untruthful ironic statement (‘irony lie’), or adeceptive untruthful joke (‘joke lie’), or a deceptiveuntruthful fiction (‘fiction lie’), or deceptive untruthfulacting (‘acting life’), since in none of these cases is onemaking an assertion. For most objectors the assertion conditionsupplements L1 and makes L1 even narrower (Chisholm and Feehan1977; Fried 1978; Simpson 1992; Williams 2002; Faulkner 2007). Forothers the assertion condition is part of a different definition oflying, and makes that definition narrower (Sorensen 2007;Fallis 2009; Stokke 2013a).

The most important objection to L1 is that lying does not require anintention to deceive. This has led to a division amongstthose writing on the definition of lying.

2. Deceptionism vs. Non-Deceptionism About Lying

There are two positions held by those who write on the definition oflying: Deceptionism and Non-Deceptionism (Mahon 2014). The firstgroup, Deceptionists, hold that an intention to deceive is necessaryfor lying. Deceptionists may be divided further in turn into SimpleDeceptionists, who hold that lying requires the making of anuntruthful statement with an intention to deceive; ComplexDeceptionists, who hold that lying requires the making of anuntruthful assertion with the intention to deceive by means of abreach of trust or faith; and Moral Deceptionists, who hold that lyingrequires the making of an untruthful statement with the intention todeceive, as well as the violation of a moral right of another or themoral wronging of another. The second group, Non-Deceptionists, holdthat an intention to deceive is not necessary for lying. They see thetraditional definition as both incorrect andinsufficient. Non-Deceptionists may be further divided into SimpleNon-Deceptionists, who hold that the making of an untruthful statementis sufficient for lying, and Complex Non-Deceptionists, who hold thata further condition, in addition to making an untruthful statement, isrequired for lying. Some Complex Non-Deceptionists hold that lyingrequires warranting the truth of what is stated, and other ComplexNon-Deceptionists hold that lying requires the making of an untruthfulassertion.

2.1 Simple Deceptionism

Simple Deceptionists include those who defend L1 (Isenberg 1973;Primoratz 1984) as well as those who defend the modified versions ofthis definition: L2 (Williams 2002), L3 (Mahon 2008), L4 (Newey 1997),and L5 (Lackey 2013). For Simple Deceptionists, lying requires themaking of an untruthful statement with an intention to deceive, but itdoes not require the making of an assertion or a breach of trust or faith.

2.2 Complex Deceptionism

Complex Deceptionists hold that, in addition to requiring an intentionto deceive, lying requires the making of an untruthfulassertion, as well as (or which therefore entails) abreach of trust or faith. Roderick Chisholm andThomas Feehan hold that one is only making an assertion to anotherperson if one makes a statement to another person and one believesthat the conditions are such that the other person isjustified in believing both that one believesone’s statement to be true and that one intends thatthe other person believe that one believes one’sstatement to be true: “x asserts p to y=df x states p to y and does so underconditions which, he believes, justify y in believing that he,x, not only accepts p, but also intends to contributecausally to y’s believing that he, x, acceptsp” (Chisholm and Feehan 1977, 152).

A lie is an untruthful assertion, that is, the speaker believes thestatement that is made is not true, or is false:

x lies to y =df There is a propositionp such that (i) either x believes that p isnot true or x believes that p is false and (ii)x asserts p to y. (Chisholm and Feehan1977, 152)

In the case of a lie, the speaker is attempting to get the hearerto believe a falsehood. Note, however, that this falsehood is not(normally) what the speaker is stating. Rather, the falsehood that thespeaker is attempting to get the hearer to believe is that thespeaker believes the statement to be true. This is the intentionto deceive in lying (although, strictly speaking, deception isforeseen and not intended (“Essentially, underthis definition, you are only lying if you expect that you will besuccessful in deceiving someone about what you believe” (Fallis2009, 45)).

The speaker is also attempting to get the hearer to have this falsebelief about what the speaker believes “in a specialway—by getting his victim to place his faith in him”(Chisholm and Feehan 1977, 149). This is the breach of trust or breach of faithin lying: “Lying, unlike the other types of deception, isessentially a breach of faith” (Chisholm and Feehan 1977,153). Their complete definition of a lie may be stated as follows:

  • (L6)To lie =df to (i) make a believed-false orbelieved-not-true statement to another person; (ii) believe that theconditions are such that the other person is justified in believingthat the statement is believed to be true by the person making thestatement; (iii) believe that the conditions are such that the otherperson is justified in believing that the person making the statementintends to contribute causally to the other person believing that thestatement is believed to be true by the person making the statement.(Chisholm and Feehan 1977; cf. Guenin 2005)

According to L6 it not possible to lie if the speaker believes thatthe conditions are such that the hearer is not justified inbelieving that the speaker is making a truthful statement. Kantprovides an example in which a thief grabs a victim by the throat andasks him where he keeps his money. If the victim were to make theuntruthful statement, “I have no money,” Kant says thatthis is not a lie, “for the other knows that… healso has no right whatever to demand the truth from me” (Kant1997, 203; but see Mahon 2009). Chisholm and Feehan hold that thevictim is not making an assertion, and hence, is not lying, given thatthe victim believes that the thief is not justified in believing thatthe victim is being truthful (Chisholm and Feehan 1977, 154–155; butsee Strudler 2009 (cf. Strudler 2005; 2010), for the argument that thethief can believe that the victim is credible, even if not trustworthy,because he is motivated by the threat of violence).

Charles Fried also holds that lying requires an assertion and abreach of faith, but he rejects L6, arguing that it is possible for thevictim to lie to the thief in Kant’s example (Fried 1978, 55 n1).According to him, making an assertion involves making a statement andintending to cause belief in the truth of that statement by giving animplicit “warranty”or an implicit promiseor assurance that the statement is true” (Fried 1978, 57). Whenone asserts, one intends to “invite belief, and not belief basedon the evidence of the statement so much as on thefaith of the statement” (Fried 1978, 56). A lie is anuntruthful assertion. The speaker intends to cause belief in the truthof a statement that the speaker believes to be false. Hence, a lieinvolves an intention to deceive. The speaker also implicitly assures orpromises the hearer that the statement that is made is true. Hence, thespeaker is giving an insincere assurance, or breaking a promise—“in lying the promise is made and broken at the samemoment”— and every lie involves a“breach of trust” (Fried 1978, 67).

Fried’s definition of lying may be stated as follows (modifiedto include cases in which speakers only intend to deceive about theirbeliefs):

  • (L7)To lie =df to (i) make a believed-false statement toanother person; (ii) intend that that other person believe that thestatement is true [and that the statement is believed to be true] [orintend that the other person believe that the statement is believed tobe true]; (iii) implicitly assure the other person that the statementis true; (iv) intend that that other person believe that the statementis true [and that the statement is believed to be true] [or intend thatthe other person believe that the statement is believed to be true]on the basis of this implicit assurance. (Fried1978)

David Simpson also holds that lying requires an assertion and abreach of faith. In asserting “we present ourselves as believingsomething while and through invoking (although not necessarily gaining)the trust of the one” to whom we assert (Simpson 1992, 625). This“invocation of trust occurs through an act of ‘opensincerity’” according to which “we attempt toestablish… both that we believe some proposition and that weintend them to realize that we believe it” (Simpson 1992, 625).Lying is “insincere assertion” in the sense that “theasserter’s requisite belief is missing” (Simpson 1992,625). This entails that someone who lies aims to deceive in three ways.First, “we have the intention that someone be in error regardingsome matter, as we see the fact of the matter” (Simpson 1992,624). This is the “primary deceptive intention” (Simpson1992, 624). Second, we intend to deceive the other person“regarding our belief regarding that matter… Wedon’t lie about this belief, but we intend to deceiveregarding it” (Simpson 1992, 624). We intend that theybe deceived, about whatever matter it is, on the basis of their beingdeceived about our belief in this matter. Finally, someone who lies“insincerely invokes trust” (Simpson 1992, 625). We intendthat they be deceived about our belief in this matter on the basis ofthis insincere invocation of trust. Other forms of intended deceptionthat are not lies do not attempt to deceive “by way of a trustinvoked through an open sincerity” (Simpson 1992, 626). This iswhat makes lies special: “it involves a certain sort ofbetrayal” (Simpson 1992, 626).

Since it is possible to lie without having the primary deceptiveintention, Simpson’s definition needs to be modifiedaccordingly:

  • (L8)To lie =df to: (i) make a statement to anotherperson; (ii) lack belief in the truth of the statement; (iii) intendthat the other person believe: (a) that the statement is true and thatthe statement is believed to be true [or (b) that the statement isbelieved to be true]; (iv) intend that the other person believe: (c)that it is intended that the other person believe that the statement istrue; (d) that it is intended that the other person believe that thestatement is believed to be true; (v) invoke trust in the other personthat the statement is believed to be true by means of an act of‘open sincerity’; (vi) intend that the other personbelieve (a), or (b), on the basis of (v). (Simpson 1992)

Paul Faulkner holds that lying necessarily involves telling someonesomething, which necessarily involves invoking trust. He distinguishesbetween telling and making an assertion, and argues that in certaincases the implication of my assertion “is sufficiently clearthat I can be said to have told you this” (Faulkner 2013, 3102)even if I did not assert this. He defines telling asfollows: “x tells y that p if and only if(i) x intends that y believe that p, and(ii) x intends that y believe that pbecause y recognizes that (i)” (Faulkner 2013, 3103). Intelling another person something, the speaker intends that the hearerbelieve what she is stating or implying, but she intends that thehearer believe what she is stating or implying for the reasonthaty [the hearer] believes x [thespeaker]” (Faulkner 2013, 3102). It follows that tellings“operate by invoking an audience’s trust” (Faulkner2013, 3103). In lying, the speaker intends that the hearer believewhat she is stating or implying on the basis of trust: “Inlying, a speaker does not intend his audience accept his lie becauseof independent evidence but intends his audience accept hislie because of his telling it. The motivation for presentinghis assertion as sincere is to thereby ensure that an audience treatshis intention that the audience believe that p as a reason forbelieving that p” (Faulkner, 2007, 527) A lie isan untruthful telling. The speaker believes that what she asserts orimplies is false, she intends that the hearer believe that what shestates or implies is true, she intends that the hearer believe thatshe intends this, and she intends that this be the reasonthat the hearer believes that what she states or implies is true:“x’s utterance U to y is a lie if andonly if (i) in uttering U, x tells ythat p, and (ii) x believes that p isfalse” (Faulkner 2013, 3103).

Faulkner’s definition of lying also needs to be modified toinclude cases in which speakers only intend to deceive about theirbeliefs:

  • (L9)To lie =df to (i) utter some proposition to anotherperson; (ii) believe that the proposition is false; (iii) intend thatthe other person believe that the proposition is true and is believedto be true [or intend that the other person believe that theproposition is believed to be true]; (iv) intend that the other personbelieve that it is intended that the other person believe that theproposition is true; (v) intend that the other person believe that theproposition is true and is believed to be true [or intend that theother person believe that the proposition is believed to be true] forthe reason that it is intended that the other person believe that theproposition is true. (Faulkner 2007; 2013)

It is an implication of Complex Deceptionist definitions of lyingthat certain cases of putative lies are not lies because no assertionis made. Consider the following case of an (attempted) confidencetrick double bluff (Newey 1997, 98). Sarah, with collaborator Charlie,wants to play a confidence trick on Andrew. She wants Andrew to buyshares in Cadbury. She decides to deceive Andrew into thinking thatKraft is planning a takeover bid for Cadbury. Sarah knows that Andrewdistrusts her. If she tells him that Kraft is planning a takeover bidfor Cadbury, he will not believe her. If she tells him that there isno takeover bid, in an (attempted) double bluff, he might believe theopposite of what she says, and so be deceived. But this simple doublebluff is too risky on its own. So Sarah gets Charlie, whom Andrewtrusts, to lie to him that Kraft is about to launch a takeover bid forCadbury. She also gets Charlie to tell Andrew that she believes thatit is false that Kraft is about to launch a takeover bid forCadbury. Sarah then goes to Andrew, and tells him, “Kraft isabout to launch a takeover bid for Cadbury.” She does not intendthat Andrew believe that she believes that Kraft is about to launch atakeover bid for Cadbury. However, she intends that he believe thatshe is mistaken, and that in fact Kraft is about to launch a takeoverbid for Cadbury. As a result, he will be deceived.

According to L6, L7, L8, and L9, Sarah is not lying, because she isnot asserting anything. According to Simpson, for example, Sarah wouldonly be “pretending to invoke trust” (Simpson1992, 628), and would not be invoking trust. In such a case, thespeaker intends to represent himself as “intending torepresent himself as believing what he does not” (Simpson1992, 628). In order to lie, “one must pretend sincerity, butalso act on an intention that this sincerity beaccepted—otherwise one is pretending to lie, and notlying” (Simpson 1992, 629). Sarah would be merely pretending tolie to Andrew, in order to deceive him.

Another case of a putative lie that is not a lie according to ComplexDeceptionist definitions of lying is a triple bluff(cf. Faulkner 2007, 527). Imagine an even more devious Pavel, from theexample above, telling an openly distrustful Trofim, in response toTrofim's question, that he is going to “Pinsk.” He isactually going to Minsk, but he answers“Pinsk” in order tohave Trofim believe that he is attempting a double bluff. If it works,Trofim will respond by telling him “Liar! You say you are goingto Pinsk in order to make me believe you are going to Minsk. But Iknow you are going to Pinsk.” According to L6, L7, L8, and L9,Pavel is not lying to Trofim. He is pretending to attempt to deceivehim with a double bluff, in order to actually attempt to deceive himwith a triple bluff. At no point is he invoking trust, and breachingthat trust.

2.3 Moral Deceptionism

Moral Deceptionists hold that in addition to making an untruthfulstatement with an intention to deceive, lying requires the violationof a moral right of another, or the moral wronging of another.

According to Chisholm and Feehan, every lie is a violation of theright of a hearer, since “It is assumed that, if aperson x asserts a proposition p to anotherperson y, then y has the right to expectthat x himself believes p. And it is assumedthat x knows, or at least that he ought to know, that, if heasserts p to y, while believing himselfthat p is not true, then he violates this rightof y’s” (Chisholm and Feehan 1977, 153,[variables have been changed for uniformity]). Nevertheless, it is notpart of their definition of lying that lying involves the violation ofthe right of another person. According to most philosophers, theclaim that lying is (either defeasibly or non-defeasibly) morally wrong is“a synthetic judgment and not an analytic one” (Kemp andSullivan 1993, 153). However, ‘lie’ is considered by somephilosophers to be a thick ethical term that it both describes a typeof action and morally evaluates that type of action negatively(Williams 1985, 140). For some philosophers, “the wrongfulnessof lying is… built into the definition of the term” (Kempand Sullivan 1993, 153). For these philosophers, the claim that lyingis (either defeasibly or non-defeasibly) morally wrong is a tautology(Margolis 1962).

According to Hugo Grotius, it is part of the meaning of‘lie’ when it is “strictly taken” that itinvolves “the Violation of a Real right” of the person liedto, namely, “the Freedom of him… to judge” (Grotius2005, 1212). One can only lie to someone who possesses thisright to exercise liberty of judgment. Grotius’s definition of lyingis therefore as follows (modified accordingly):

  • (L10)To lie =df to make a believed-false statement toanother person, with the intention that that other person believe thatstatement to be true (or believe that the statement is believed to betrue, or both), violating that person’s right to exercise libertyof judgment. (Grotius 2005)

According to L10, one cannot lie to “Children orMadmen,” for example, since they lack the right of liberty ofjudgment (Grotius 2005, 1212). One cannot lie to someone who has given“express Consent” to be told untruths, since he has givenup the right to exercise his liberty of judgment about these matters(Grotius 2005, 1214). One cannot lie to someone who by “tacitConsent” or presumed consent “founded upon justReason” has given up the right to exercise his liberty ofjudgment about some matter, “on account of the Advantage, that heshall get by it,” such as when “a Person… comfortshis sick Friend, by making him believe what is false,” since“no Wrong is done to him that is willing” (Grotius2005, 1215–1217). Furthermore, “he who has an absolute Right overall the Rights of another,” is not lying when he “makes useof that Right, in telling something false, either for his particularAdvantage, or for the publick Good” (Grotius 2005, 1216–1218).The right to exercise one’s liberty of judgment can also be takenaway in cases “When the life of an innocent Person, or somethingequal to it,” is at stake, or when “the Execution of adishonest Act be otherwise prevented” (Grotius 2005, 1221). Insuch a case, the person has forfeited his right, and“speaking falsely to those—like thieves—to whomtruthfulness is not owed cannot be called lying” (Bok 1978,14).

Alan Donagan also incorporates moral conditions into his definitionof lying (modified to include cases in which speakers only intend todeceive about their beliefs):

  • (L11)To lie =df to freely make a believed-false statementto another fully responsible and rational person, with the intentionthat that other person believe that statement to be true [or theintention that that other person believe that that statement isbelieved to be true, or both]. (Donagan 1977)

According to L11, it is not possible to lie to “children,madmen, or those whose minds have been impaired by age orillness” (Donagan 1977, 89), since they are not fully responsibleand rational persons. It is also not possible to lie to “awould-be murderer who threatens your life if you will not tell himwhere his quarry has gone” (Donagan 1977, 89), and in generalwhen you are acting under duress in any way (such as a witness in fearof his life on the witness stand, or a victim being robbed by a thief),since statements made in such circ*mstances are not freely made.

It has been objected that these moral deceptionist definitions areunduly narrow and restrictive (Bok 1978). Surely, for example, it ispossible to lie to a would-be murderer, whether it is impermissible, assome absolutist deontologists maintain (Augustine 1952; Aquinas 1972(cf. MacIntyre 1995b); Kant 1996 (cf. Mahon 2006); Newman 1880; Geach1977; Betz 1985; Pruss 1999; Tollefsen 2014), or permissible (i.e.,either optional or obligatory), as consequentialists and moderatedeontologists maintain (Constant 1964; Mill 1863; Sidgwick 1981; Bok1978; MacIntyre 1995a; cf. Kagan 1998).

It has also been objected that these moral deceptionist definitionsare morally lax (Kemp and Sullivan 1993, 158–9). By rendering certaindeceptive untruthful statements to others as non-lies, theymake it permissible to act in a way that would otherwise be open tomoral censure. In general, even those philosophers who hold that alllies have an inherent negative weight, albeit such that it can beoverridden, and hence, who hold that lying is defeasibly morally wrong,do not incorporate moral necessary conditions into their definitions oflying (Bok 1978; Kupfer 1982; cf. Wiles 1988).

2.4 Non-Deceptionism

Non-Deceptionists hold that an intention to deceive is not necessaryfor lying.

For Simple Non-Deceptionists (Augustine 1952 (cf. Griffiths 2003, 31);Aquinas 1952; Shibles 1985), there is nothing more to lying thanmaking an untruthful statement. According to Aquinas, for example, ajocose lie is a lie. This position is not defended by contemporaryphilosophers.

For Complex Non-Deceptionists, untruthfulness is not sufficient forlying. In order to differentiate lying from telling jokes, beingironic, acting, etc., a further condition must be met. For someComplex Non-Deceptionists, that further condition is warranting thetruth of the untruthful statement. For other ComplexNon-Deceptionists, that condition is making an assertion.

Thomas Carson holds that it is possible to lie by making a false anduntruthful statement to an addressee without intending to deceive theaddressee, so long as the statement is made in a context such that one“warrants the truth” of the statement (and one does notbelieve oneself to be not warranting the truth of the statement), orone intends to warrant the truth of the statement:

  • (L12)A person x tells a lie to another person yiff (i) x makes a false statement p to y,(ii) x believes that p is false or probably false (or,alternatively, x does not believe that p is true),(iii) x states p in a context in which x therebywarrants the truth of p to y, and (iv) x does nottake herself to be not warranting the truth of what she says toy. (Carson 2006, 298; 2010, 30)
  • (L13)A person x tells a lie to another person y iff (i)x makes a false statement p to y, (ii) xbelieves that p is false or probably false (or,alternatively, x does not believe that p is true), and(iii) x intends to warrant the truth of pto y. (Carson 2010, 37)

Carson includes the falsity condition in both of his definitions;however, he is prepared to modify both definitions so that the falsitycondition is not required (Carson 2010, 39). He also holds that theuntruthfulness condition is not stringent enough, since, if a speakersimply does “not believe” her statement to be true (butdoes not believe it to be false), or believes that her statement is“probably false” (but does not believe it to be false),then she is lying.

Carson gives two examples of non-deceptive lies: a guilty student whotells a college dean that he did not cheat on an examination, withoutintending that the dean believe him (since “he is reallyhard-boiled, he may take pleasure in thinking that the Dean knows heis guilty”), because he knows that the dean’s policy isnot to punish a student for cheating unless the student admits tocheating, and a witness who provides untruthful (and false) testimonyabout a defendant, where there is a preponderance of evidence againstthe defendant, without the intention that the testimony be believed byanyone, in order to avoid suffering retaliation from the defendantand/or his henchmen (Carson 2006, 289; 2010, 21). Neither person islying according to the definitions of lying of Simple Deceptionists(L1, L2, L3, L4, and L5) or Complex Deceptionists (L6, L7, L8, and L9)(cf. Simpson 1992, 631) or Moral Deceptionists (L10, L11). Both arelying according to L12 and L13, because each warrants the truth of hisstatement, even though neither intends to deceive his addressee.

It has been argued that the witness and the student do have anintention to deceive (Meibauer 2011, 282; 2014a, 105). It has alsobeen argued that they are being deceptive, even if they lack anintention that their untruthful statements be believed to be true(Lackey 2013; but see Fallis 2015). However, it has also been arguedthat they fail to warrant the truth of their statements, and hencefail to be lying according to L12 and L13. One argument is that, inthe witness example, the statement is coerced, and “Coercedspeech acts are not genuinely assertoric” (Leland 2013, 3;cf. Kenyon 2010). “In the context of a threat of violent death,the mere fact that he is speaking under oath is not sufficient toinstitute an ordinary warranting context” (Leland 2013,4). Another argument is that the witness and the student are notwarranting the truth of their statements because they believe thattheir audiences believe that they are being untruthful.

Carson has said that “If one warrants the truth of a statement,then one promises or guarantees, ether explicitly or implicitly, thatwhat one says is true” (Carson 2010, 26) and “Warrantingthe truth of a statement presupposes that the statement is being usedto invite or influence belief. It does not make sense for one toguarantee the truth of something that one is not inviting orinfluencing others to believe” (Carson 2010, 36). The result isthat to lie is to breach trust: “To lie, on my view,is to invite others to trust and rely on what one says by warrantingits truth, but, at the same time, to betray that trust by making falsestatements that one does not believe” (Carson 2010, 34). Thecombination of warranting the truth of one’s statement andbreaching trust would appear to make Carson’s definition oflying similar to that of Complex Deceptionists such as Chisholm andFeehan. It would also appear to produce similar results. For example,Carson says the following about negotiators:

In the US, it is common and often a matter of course for people todeliberately misstate their bargaining positions duringnegotiations. Such statements are lies according to standarddictionary definitions of lying—they are intentional falsestatements intended to deceive others. However, given my firstdefinition of lying [L12], such cases are not lies unless thenegotiator warrants the truth of what he says… Suppose that two“hardened” cynical negotiators who routinely misstatetheir intentions, and do not object when others do this to them,negotiate with each other. Each person recognizes that the other partyis a cynical negotiator, and each is aware of the fact that the otherparty knows this. In this sort of case, statements about one’sminimum or maximum price are not warranted to be true. (Carson2010, 191)

If a negotiator makes an untruthful statement, “That is thehighest I can go,” to another negotiator, then, since thenegotiator believes that the other negotiator believes that he ismaking an untruthful statement, he cannot intend to warrant the truthof his statement, and/or the context (of negotiation) is such that heis not warranting the truth of his statement. As a result, he is isnot lying, according to L12. He is not lying according to L13, either,at least if it is true that you cannot “intend to do somethingthat you do not expect to succeed at” (Fallis 2009, 43 n 48;cf. Newey 1997, 96–97).

It seems that the same thing can be said about the student and thewitness. If the student believes that the dean already knows he isguilty, and if the witness believes that the jury, etc., already knowsthat the defendant is guilty, then it seems that neither can intend towarrant the truth of his statement, and/or the context is such thatneither is warranting the truth of his statement. If this is so, thenneither is lying according to L12 and L13. Carson has said, abouttheir Complex Deceptionist definition of lying, “Chisholm andFeehan’s definition has the very odd and unacceptable resultthat a notoriously dishonest person cannot lie to people who he knowsdistrust him” (Carson 2010, 23). It does seem, however, thatCarson’s definition has the same result.

Jennifer Saul also holds that it is possible to lie withoutintending to deceive. She has provided a modified version of L12 thatcombines the warranting context condition, and the not believing thatone is not warranting condition, in the single condition ofbelieving that one is in a warranting context:

  • (L14)If the speaker is not the victim of linguistic error/malapropismor using metaphor, hyperbole, or irony, then they lie iff (i) they saythat p; (ii) they believe p to be false; (iii) they takethemselves to be in a warranting context. (Saul 2012, 3)

According to Saul, it is not possible to lie if one does notbelieve that one is in a warranting context. Saul considers the caseof a putative lie told in a totalitarian state: “This is thecase of utterances demanded by a totalitarian state. These utterancesof sentences supporting the state are made by people who don’tbelieve them, to people who don’t believe them. Everyone knowsthat false things are being said, and that they are only being saidonly because they are required by the state. […] It seemssomewhat reasonable to suggest that, since everyone is forced to makethese false utterances, and everyone knows they are false, they ceaseto be genuine lies” (Saul 2012, 9). Saul adds that “Peopleliving in a totalitarian state, making pro-state utterances, are atrickier case (which they should be). Whether or not their utterancesare made in contexts where a warrant of truth is present is not at allclear” (Saul 2012, 11). If a speaker is making an untruthfulstatement to a hearer, and “Everyone knows that false things arebeing said,” that is, the speaker knows that the hearer knowsthat the speaker is being untruthful, then the speaker does notbelieve that she is in a warranting context. According to L14, thespeaker is not lying. However, it is arguable that in both the studentand the witness cases, “Everyone knows that false things arebeing said,” and hence, that the speaker does not believe thathe is in a warranting context. If this is so, then according to L14,neither the student nor the witness is lying.

Roy Sorensen agrees with Carson that lying does not require anintention to deceive, and that there can be non-deceptive“bald-faced” lies (Sorensen 2007) and“knowledge-lies” (Sorensen 2010). However, he rejects L12,since it entails that one cannot lie when the falsity of what one isstating is common knowledge: “Carson’s definition of lyingdoes not relieve the narrowness. The concept of warrant is not broadenough to explain how we can lie in the face of common knowledge. Onecan warrant p only if p might be the case. When thefalsehood of p is common knowledge, no party to the commonknowledge can warrant p because p is epistemicallyimpossible” (Carson 2007, 254). According to Sorensen, anegotiator who tells “a falsehood that will lead to bettercoordination between buyer and seller” is telling abald-faced lie (Sorensen 2007, 262).

Sorensen defines lying as follows: “Lying is just assertingwhat one does not believe” (Sorensen 2007, 256). It is acondition on telling a lie that one makes an assertion. Sorensendifferentiates between assertions and non-assertions according to“narrow plausibility”: “To qualify as an assertion,a lie must have narrow plausibility. Thus, someone who only had accessto the assertion might believe it. This is the grain of truth behind‘Lying requires the intention to deceive.’ Bald-faced liesshow that assertions do not need to meet a requirement of wideplausibility, that is, credibility relative to one’s totalevidence” (Sorensen 2007, 255).

Sorensen provides, as examples of assertions, and hence, lies, theservant of a maestro telling an unwanted female caller that the soundsshe hears over the phone are not the maestro and that the servant ismerely “dusting the piano keys,” and a doctor in an Iraqihospital during the Iraq war telling a journalist who can see patientsin the ward in uniforms that “I see no uniforms” (Sorensen2007, 253). The claim that these are assertions, however, andtherefore lies, is controversial (cf. Keiser 2015). These statementsneither express the speaker’s belief, nor aim to affect thebelief of the addressee in any way, since their falsehood is commonknowledge (cf. Williams 2002, 74). As it has been said:“Sorensen does not offer a definition of asserting a proposition(with necessary and sufficient conditions)… To the extent thathe does not fully analyze the concept of assertion, Sorensen’sdefinition of lying is unclear” (Carson 2010, 36). It may beargued against Sorensen that the “utterances in question are notassertions” (Keiser 2015, 12), and hence, on his own account, fail tobe lies.

Don Fallis also holds that it is possible to lie without intendingto deceive. He has also defended the assertion condition for lying:“you lie when you assert something that you believe tobe false” (Fallis 2009, 33). He has held that you assertsomething when you you make a statement and you believe that you are ina situation in which the Gricean norm of conversation, ‘Do notsay what you believe to be false,’ is in effect. His definitionof lying was thus as follows:

You lie to x if and only if (i) you statethat p to x, (2) you believe that you make thisstatement in a context where the following norm of conversation is ineffect: Do not make statements that you believe to be false, and (iii)you believe that p is false. (Fallis 2009, 34).

Counterexamples to this definition(Pruss 2012; Faulkner 2013; Stokke 2013a) have prompted a revision ofthis definition in order to accommodate these counterexamples:

  • (L15)You lie if and only if you say that p, youbelieve that p is false (or at least that p will befalse if you succeed in communicating that p), and you intendto violate the norm of conversation against communicating somethingfalse by communicating that p (Fallis 2012, 569)
  • (L16)You lie if and only if you say that p, you believe thatp is false (or at least that p will be false if you succeed incommunicating that p), and you intend to communicate somethingfalse by communicating that p. (Fallis 2012, 569)

Both L15 and L16 are able to accommodate the followingcounterexample to the earlier definition: “when Marc Antony saidto the Roman people, ‘Brutus is an honorable man’ …the citizens of Rome know that (a) Antony did not believe that Brutuswas an honorable man, that (b) Antony was subject to a norm againstsaying things that he believed to be false, and that (c) Antony hadbeen a cooperative participant in the conversation so far. Thus, theywere led to conclude that Antony was flouting the norm inorder to communicate something other than what he literally uttered. Infact, the best explanation of his statement was that he wanted tocommunicate the exact opposite of what he literally uttered”(Fallis 2012, 567). Since Antony does not intend to violate the norm ofconversation against communicating something that he believes to befalse (that Brutus is an honorable man) by saying “Brutus is anhonorable man,” or, more simply, since Antony does not intend tocommunicate something false with his untruthful statement, it followsthat Antony is not lying. However, in the case of a guilty witness,Tony, against whom there is overwhelming evidence, who says “Idid not do it,” without the intention that anyone believe him, hedoes intend to violate the norm of conversation against communicatingsomething that he believes to be false (that he did not do it) bysaying “I did not do it,” or, more simply, he does intendto communicate something believed-false with his untruthful statement,even though he does not intend that anyone believe this.

It has been contended that non-deceptive liars do not intend tocommunicate anything believed-false with their untruthful statements,and, indeed, may even intend to communicate something believed-truewith their untruthful statements (Dynel 2011, 151). Fallis rejects theclaim that non-deceptive liars do not intend to communicate anythingbelieved-false, even if they intend to communicate somethingbelieved-true:

Bald-faced liars might want to communicate somethingtrue. For instance, Tony may be trying to communicate to the policethat that they will never convict him. But that does not mean that hedoes not also intend to communicate something false in violation ofthe norm. He wants what he actually said to be understood and acceptedfor purposes of the conversation. It is not as if “I did not doit” is simply a euphemism for “You’ll never take mealive, coppers!” (Fallis 2012, 572 n 24)

However, in the case of polite untruths, such as “Madam isnot at home,” the untruthful statement is simply a euphemism:“For example, the words ”She is not at home,“delivered by a servant or a relative at the door, have become a mereeuphemism for indisposition or disinclination” (Isenberg 1973,256). In the case of polite untruths, it seems, there is no intentionto communicate anything believed-false. In the case of the servant whotells the female caller, “I’m dusting the pianokeys,” or the Iraqi doctor who tells the journalist “I seeno uniforms,” or the negotiator who tells the other negotiator“That is the highest I can go,” or the person living inthe totalitarian state who makes the pro-state utterance, it is alsoarguable that there is no intention to communicate anythingbelieved-false. If this is true, then there is some support for theclaim that non-deceptive liars do not intend to communicate anythingbelieved-false with their untruthful statements, and hence, that theyare not lying according to L15 or L16.

Andreas Stokke also holds that it is possible to lie withoutintending to deceive. He has also defended the assertion condition forlying: “you lie when you assert something you believe to befalse” (Stokke 2013a, 33). According to Stokke, to “assertthat p is to say that p and thereby propose thatp become common ground” (Stokke 2013a, 47). Aproposition, p, becomes common ground in a group “if allmembers accept (for the purpose of the conversation) that p,and all believe that all believe that all accept that p,etc.” (Stokke 2013a, 49, quoting Stalnaker 2002, 716). Stokke thusdefines lying as follows:

  • (L17)x lies to y if and only if …x says that p to y, and … xproposes that p become common ground, and … xbelieves that p is false. (Stokke 2013a, 49)

In the case of a speaker making an ironic untruthful statement,the speaker does not propose that the believed-false proposition(e.g., “Brutus is an honorable man”) become common ground(Stokke 2013a, 50). However, in the case of a non-deceptive liar, thespeaker does propose that the believed-false proposition (e.g.,“I did not cheat”) become common ground (Stokke 2013a,52). The fact that in the case of a non-deceptive lie it is commonknowledge that what the speaker is saying is (believed to be) falsedoes not alter the fact that the speaker is proposing that thebelieved-falsehood become common ground. Indeed, even if the(believed) truth is initially common ground, before the speakerproposes that the believed-falsehood become common ground, it is stillthe case that the non-deceptive liar is proposing to “update thecommon ground with her utterance” (Stokke 2013a, 54). Forexample, in the case of the student and the dean, “The studentwants herself and the Dean to mutually accept that she did notplagiarize” (Stokke 2013a, 54).

It is possible to argue that Stokke’s account of assertion,and hence L17, is faced with a dilemma when it comes to non-deceptivelies. Either, in the case of a non-deceptive lie, the speaker doespropose that the believed-false proposition become common ground, butbecoming common ground is too weak to count as asserting, or becomingcommon ground is strong enough to count as asserting, but, in the caseof a non-deceptive lie, the speaker does not propose that thebelieved-false proposition become common ground. Stokke considersStalnaker’s example of a guest at a party saying to anotherguest, “The man drinking a martini is a philosopher,” andof the two guests proceeding to talk about the philosopher, when it iscommon knowledge that the drink in question is not a martini. Aboutthis example Stalnaker says: “perhaps it is mutually recognizedthat it is not a martini, but mutually recognized that both partiesare accepting that it is a martini. The pretense will berational if accepting the false presupposition is an efficient way tocommunicate something true” (Stalnaker 2002, 718). However, ifproposing that a believed-false proposition become common ground canmean engaging in and sustaining a “pretence,” possibly inorder to communicate truths, then it is not clear that this counts asmaking an assertion (cf. Keiser 2015). Hence, a non-deceptive liar maybe proposing that her believed-false proposition become common groundwithout this being an act of making an assertion. But this means thatshe is not lying, according to L17. Alternatively, if proposing that abelieved-false proposition become common ground means something morethan this, such that the speaker intends or wants herself and herhearer “to mutually accept” her believed-falseproposition, then it is not clear that a non-deceptive liar intends orwants this. If this is correct, then non-deceptive lies fail to belies according to L17.

3. Traditional Definition of Deception

The dictionary definition of deception is as follows: “To causeto believe what is false” (OED 1989). There are severalproblems with this definition, however (Barnes 1997; Mahon 2007;Carson 2010). The principal problem is that it is too broad inscope. On this definition, mere appearances can deceive, such as whena white object looks red in a certain light (Faulkner,2013). Furthermore, it is possible for peopleto inadvertently deceive others. If Steffi believes thatthere is a talk on David Lewis and the Christians on Friday, and shetells Paul that “There is a talk on Lewis and the Christians onFriday,” and as a result Paul believes that there is a talk onC. S. Lewis and the Christians on Friday, then Steffi has deceivedPaul. Also, it is possible for people to mistakenly deceiveother people. If Steffi mistakenly believes that there is not aphilosophy talk on Friday, and she tells Paul that there is not aphilosophy talk on Friday, and he believes her, then then Steffi hasdeceived Paul.

Although some philosophers hold that deceiving may be inadvertent ormistaken (Demos 1960; Fuller 1976; Chisholm and Feehan 1977; Adler1997; Gert 2005), many philosophers have argued that it is not possibleto deceive inadvertently or mistakenly (Linsky 1970; van Horne1981; Barnes 1997; Carson 2010; Saul 2012; Faulkner 2013). Theyhold that deception, like lying, is intentional. They reserveterm “mislead” to cover cases of causing false beliefseither intentionally or unintentionally (Carson 2010, 47).

A modified version of the dictionary definition that does not allowfor either inadvertent or mistaken deceiving is as follows:

  • (D1)To deceive =df to intentionally cause to have a falsebelief that is known or believed to be false.

D1 may be taken as the traditional definition of deception, at leastin the case of other-deception (Baron 1988, 444 n. 2). As contrastedwith ‘lying,’ ‘deceive’ is an achievement orsuccess verb (Ryle 1949, 130). An act of deceiving is not an act ofdeceiving unless a particular result is achieved. According to D1,that result is a false belief. Note that D1 is not restrictedto the deception of other persons by other persons; it applies toanything that is capable of having beliefs, such as (possibly)chimpanzees, dogs, and infants.

There is no statement condition for deception. In addition todeceiving by means of lying, it is possible to deceive using naturalor causal signs (indices), such as packing a bag as though one weregoing on a holiday, in order to catch a thief (Kant 1997, 202). It ispossible to deceive by using signs that work by resemblance (icons),for example by posting a smiley face emoticon about a news item thatone is actually unhappy about. Finally, it is possible to deceive bynon-linguistic conventional signs (symbols), such as wearing a weddingring when one is not married, or wearing a police uniform when one isnot a police officer. It is also possible for a person to deceive bycursing, making an interjection or an exclamation, issuing a commandor an exhortation, asking a question, saying “Hello,” andso forth. It is also possible to deceive by omitting to make certainstatements, or by remaining silent.

There is also no untruthfulness condition for deception. It ispossible to deceive by making a truthful and true statement thatintentionally implies a falsehood. This is a palter. Palters includeBill Clinton stating “There is no improper relationship,”with the intention that it be believed that there was never animproper relationship (Saul 2012, 30), greeting a famous person by hisor her first name with the intention that other people believe that youare a close friend of his, or making a reservation for a restaurant or a hotelas “Dr.,” intending to be believed to be a (typicallywealthier) physician rather than a (typically less wealthy) academic(Schauer and Zeckhauser 2009, 44). If Pavel truthfully and truly tellsTrofim that he is going to Pinsk, with the intention that thedistrustful Trofim believe falsely that Pavel is going to Minsk, and asa result Trofim believes falsely that Pavel is going to Minsk, thenPavel deceives Trofim (a double bluff). It is also possible todeceive using truthful statements that are not assertions, such asjokes, ironic statements, and even the lines of a play delivered onstage, so long as the intention to deceive can be formed. If, forexample, I am asked if I stole the money, and I reply in an ironictone, “Yeah, right, of course I did,” when I did steal themoney, intending that I be believed to have not stolen the money, andif I am believed, then I have deceived using a truthful statement (itis unclear if such cases of “telling the truth falsely”(Frank 2009, 57) are to be considered as cases of paltering).

There is also no addressee condition for deception. In addition todeceiving addressees, it is possible to deceive those listening in, asin a bogus disclosure (e.g., deceiving F.B.I. agents secretly known tobe listening in on a telephone conversation) or a disclosure (e.g.,deceiving NASA handlers openly listening to exchanges betweenastronauts and their wives in Capricorn One). It is alsopossible to deceive an addressee about some matter other than thecontent of the statement made (e.g., making a truthful statement, butfaking an accent).

3.1 Objections to the Traditional Definition of Deception

Several objections can be made to D1. One objection is that it is notnecessary that the deceiver causes another person to have a falsebelief that is (truly) believed to be false by the deceiver: “ifI intentionally cause you to believe that p where p isfalse and I neither believe that p is true nor believethat p is false” (Carson 2010, 48) then this is stilldeception (van Frassen 1988; Barnes 1997; cf. Shiffrin 2014, 13). Forexample, if Michael has no belief whatsoever regarding the conditionof the bridge, but he convinces Gertrude that the bridge is safe, andthe bridge happens to be dangerous, then Michael deceives Gertrudeabout the bridge being safe (van Frassen 1988, 124). Or, if Alyceplaces a fake rabbit in Evelyn’s garden, in which lives areclusive rabbit, in order to guarantee that Evelyn believes that sheis seeing a rabbit in her garden (one way or the other), and Evelynsees the fake rabbit, and calls Alyce on the phone and tells her“I am looking at a rabbit in my garden!” then Alyce hasdeceived Evelyn, even though she cannot believe or know that Evelyn isseeing the fake rabbit rather than the real rabbit (Barnes 1997,11). Although this objection to D1 is not necessarily compelling(Mahon 2007, 191–2), a modified definition of interpersonaldeception that incorporates this objection is as follows:

  • (D2)A person x deceives another person y if and onlyif x intentionally causes y to believe p,where p is false and x does not believe that p istrue. (Carson 2010, 48)

The most common objection to D1 is that it is not necessary that thedeceiver intentionally cause another person to have a newfalse belief. Although this form of deception, according to which aperson intentionally brings about “the change from the state ofnot being deceived… to that of being deceived” (Chisholmand Feehan 1977, 144), is the most normal form of deception, it is notthe only form. A person may deceive another person by causing thatperson to continue to have a false belief (Fuller 1976, 21;Chisholm and Feehan 1977, 144; Mahon 2007 189–190; Carson 2010, 50;Shiffrin 2014, 19). This is where, “but for the act” of thedeceiver, the person “would have lost or given up” thefalse belief (Chisholm and Feehan 1977, 144), or least have a greaterchance of losing the false belief. A modified definition ofinterpersonal deception that incorporates this objection is thefollowing:

  • (D3)A person x deceives another person y if and onlyif x intentionally causes y to believe p (orpersist in believing p), where p is false and xknows or believes that p is false. (Carson 2010, 50)

A further objection to D1 (and D2 and D3) is that it is not sufficientfor deception that a person intentionally causes another person tohave a false belief that she truly believes or knows to be false; itmust also be that this false belief is caused by evidence,and that the evidence is brought about by the person in orderto cause the other person to have the false belief (Linsky 1970, 163;Fuller 1976, 23; Schmitt 1988, 185; Barnes 1997, 14; Mahon 2007). IfAndrew intentionally causes Ben to believe (falsely) that there arevampires in England by, for example, operating on Ben’s brain,or giving Ben an electric shock, or drugging Ben, then Andrew doesnot deceive Ben about there being vampires in England. Also, if Andrewcauses Ben to believe falsely that there are vampires in England bygetting Ben to read a book that purports to demonstrate that there arevampires in England, then Andrew does not deceive Ben about therebeing vampires in England. However, if Andrew writes a book thatpurports to demonstrate that there are vampires in England, and Benreads the book, and as a result Ben comes to believe that there arevampires in England, then Andrew does deceive Ben about there beingvampires in England (Fuller 1976). A modified definition ofinterpersonal deception that incorporates this objection is thefollowing:

  • (D4)To deceive =df to intentionally cause anotherperson to have or continue to have a false belief that is known ortruly believed to be false by bringing about evidence on the basis ofwhich the person has or continues to have the false belief.(Mahon 2007, 189–190)

All of the definitions so far considered are definitions of positivedeception, where a person “has been caused to addto his stock of false beliefs” or has been caused to continue tohave a false belief (Chisholm and Feehan 1977, 144). A furtherobjection to D1 (and D2, D3, and D4) is that it is not necessary fordeception to cause a new belief or to cause to continue to have a falsebelief. One can deceive another person by causing the person tocease to have a true belief, or by preventing the personfrom acquiring a true belief. These are both cases of negativedeception, according to which a person “has been caused tolose one of his true beliefs” or been prevented fromgaining a true belief (Chisholm and Feehan 1977, 143–144). Forexample, if I intentionally distract someone who is prone toforgetting things irretrievably when distracted, in order to make thatperson forget something irretrievably, and, as a result, that personloses a (veridical) memory irretrievably, then I have caused him tocease to have a true belief. (In science-fiction the same result canbe achieved by using a memory-erasing device, as in the neuralyzerused in the 1997 science-fiction film Men in Black). Also, ifI hide a section of the newspaper from someone in order to prevent herfrom learning about some news item, such as an earthquake in a foreigncountry that harmed no-one, then I prevented her from acquiring a truebelief about a distant earthquake. A modified definition ofinterpersonal deception that incorporates this objection is thefollowing:

  • (D5)To deceive =df to intentionally cause another personto acquire a false belief, or to continue to have a false belief, or tocease to have a true belief, or to be prevented from acquiring a truebelief.

However, this objection to D1 (and D2, D3, and D4) is notnecessarily compelling. It may be argued that negative deception is notdeception at all. After all, no false belief has been acquired or sustained.It may be argued that to prevent someone from acquiring a true beliefis to keep that person in ignorance, or to keep that person “inthe dark,” rather than to deceive that person (Mahon 2007,187–188; cf. Carson 2010, 53). The state of being ignorant is not thesame as the state of being mistaken. One may not know what city is thecapital city of Estonia (Tallinn); this is different from mistakenlybelieving that Riga is the capital city of Estonia. Similarly, althoughit is more unusual, rendering a person ignorant of some matter is notthe same as deceiving that person, at least if it results in no falsebelief. For example, in the 2004 science-fiction film The EternalSunshine of the Spotless Mind, people go to Lacuna, Inc., to havetheir memories of their previous relationships, as well as their visits, erased.Those who run Lacuna, Inc., make their clients forget things, or renderthem ignorant of things. They do not deceive them in doing this.Chisholm and Feehan admit that Augustine and Aquinas “do not callit ‘deception’” to “hide the truth”(Chisholm and Feehan 1977, 187).

D5 only counts as deception cases of deception “bycommission” (Chisholm and Feehan 1977, 143–144). Accordingto Chisholm and Feehan, it is also possible to deceive “byomission” (Chisholm and Feehan 1977, 143–144). One mayallow a person to acquire a false belief, or allow aperson to continue with a false belief, or allow a person tocease to have a true belief, or allow a person to continuewithout a true belief. For example, one may allow a person to read anews story and acquire a belief that one knows is false (e.g., a newsstory about the CEO of your company resigning for health reasons, whenyou know he was forced out for mismanagement of funds), and one mayallow a person to continue to have a false belief by not correctingthe person’s false belief (e.g., not correcting a child’sbelief in Santa Claus). Or, for example, one may allow a person toforget a veridical memory by not stopping them from gettingdistracted, and one may allow a person to continue without knowingabout an earthquake that has occurred in a foreign country. Accordingto Chisholm and Feehan, there can positive and negative deception bycommission and by omission. A modified definition of interpersonaldeception that incorporates this objection is the following:

  • (D6)To deceive =df to intentionally cause another person toacquire a false belief, or to continue to have a false belief, or tocease to have a true belief, or to be prevented from acquiring a truebelief, or to intentionally allow another person to acquire a falsebelief, or to continue to have a false belief, or to cease to have atrue belief, or to be prevented from acquiring a truebelief.

Finally, D6 only counts as deception actions and omissions that areintentional. According to Chisholm and Feehan, however, deception canbe unintentional. A modified definition of interpersonal deception thatincorporates this objection is the following:

  • (D7)To deceive =df to cause another person to acquire afalse belief, or to continue to have a false belief, or to cease tohave a true belief, or be prevented from acquiring a true belief, orto allow another person to acquire a false belief, or to continue tohave a false belief, or to cease to have a true belief, or beprevented from acquiring a true belief. (Chisholm and Feehan 1977,145).

The objection to D5 that negative deception is notdeception also applies to D6 and D7.

The Definition of Lying and Deception (2024)
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