Ishani Maitra (Michigan): Lying and deception: A happy marriage

Abstract: Traditionally, lying has been understood to involve an intention to deceive. There is a long history, going all the way back to Augustine, that characterises lying this way. More recently, however, a series of examples have been proposed to show that lying involves no such intention. In response to these examples, theorists have largely moved away from the intent-to-deceive tradition. In this paper, I argue that this is a mistake, in part because it leaves us unable to explain some moral features of lying. I focus on two kinds of purported counter-example to the intent-to-deceive tradition, and make three claims about these disputed cases. First, I argue that much of the evidence offered to establish the absence of an intent-to-deceive in fact doesn’t show this at all. Second, I draw on a more deflationary account of intention to argue that in some of these disputed cases there is an intent-to-deceive after all. Third, I look at some contemporary characterisations of lying, and argue that they are committed to implausible conclusions unless they also tacitly appeal to an intent-to-deceive. I draw some general conclusions from this discussion, for lying as well as for other speech acts.

Date & time

Thu 30 May 2019, 3:30pm to 5:30pm


Coombs Ext Rm 1.04


Ishani Maitra (Michigan)

Event series


School of Philosophy


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