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Can a question be a lie? An empirical investigation


Viebahn, Emanuel; Wiegmann, Alex; Engelmann, Neele; Willemsen, Pascale (2020). Can a question be a lie? An empirical investigation. OSF jfyn8, University of Zurich.

Abstract

In several recent papers and a monograph, Andreas Stokke argues that questions can be misleading, but that they cannot be lies. The aim of this paper is to show that ordinary speakers disagree. We show that ordinary speakers judge certain kinds of insincere questions to be lies, namely questions carrying a believed-false presupposition the speaker intends to convey. These judgements are robust and remain so when the participants are given the possibility of classifying the utterances as misleading or as deceiving. The judgements contrast with judgements participants give about cases of misleading or deceptive behaviour, and they pattern with judgements participants make about declarative lies. Finally, the possibility of lying with non-declaratives is not confined to questions: ordinary speakers also judge utterances of imperative, exclamative and optative sentences carrying believed-false presuppositions to be lies

Abstract

In several recent papers and a monograph, Andreas Stokke argues that questions can be misleading, but that they cannot be lies. The aim of this paper is to show that ordinary speakers disagree. We show that ordinary speakers judge certain kinds of insincere questions to be lies, namely questions carrying a believed-false presupposition the speaker intends to convey. These judgements are robust and remain so when the participants are given the possibility of classifying the utterances as misleading or as deceiving. The judgements contrast with judgements participants give about cases of misleading or deceptive behaviour, and they pattern with judgements participants make about declarative lies. Finally, the possibility of lying with non-declaratives is not confined to questions: ordinary speakers also judge utterances of imperative, exclamative and optative sentences carrying believed-false presuppositions to be lies

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Working Paper
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Philosophy
Dewey Decimal Classification:100 Philosophy
Language:English
Date:2020
Deposited On:18 Dec 2020 15:16
Last Modified:27 Jan 2022 03:47
Series Name:OSF
OA Status:Green
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.31219/osf.io/jfyn8
  • Content: Accepted Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)