Article published in:Certainty-uncertainty – and the Attitudinal Space in Between
Edited by Sibilla Cantarini, Werner Abraham and Elisabeth Leiss
[Studies in Language Companion Series 165] 2014
► pp. 153–173
Lying as a scalar phenomenon
insincerity along the certainty-uncertainty continuum
In the philosophical debate on lying, there has generally been agreement that either the speaker believes that his statement is false, or he believes that his statement is true. This article challenges this assumption, and argues that lying is a scalar phenomenon that allows for a number of intermediate cases – the most obvious being cases of uncertainty. The first section shows that lying can involve beliefs about graded truth values (fuzzy lies) and graded beliefs (graded-belief lies). It puts forward a new definition to deal with these scalar parameters, that requires that the speaker asserts what he believes more likely to be false than true. The second section shows that statements are scalar in the same way beliefs are, and accounts for a further element of scalarity, illocutionary force.
Published online: 14 November 2014
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