Conferencia: Disagreement with a bald-faced liar



Instituto de Investigaciones Filosóficas
Seminario de Filosofía del Lenguaje


Disagreement with a bald-faced liar  

Teresa Marques       

Viernes 12 de abril 2019
11:00 hrs. Aula Alejandro Rossi


How do we disagree with a bald-faced liar? To answer, we must settle on what bald-faced lies are: are they assertions? Are they  lies? Does the speaker have the intent to deceive? In contexts of bald- faced lies, it is common knowledge that what the speaker says is false.  Sorensen (2007) characterizes bald-faced lies as prima facie lies that are made without the intention to deceive. He claims that bald-faced lies are not, because of this, deserving of disapproval. And according to recent proposals by Keiser (2016) and Maitra (2018), a bald-face liar is not even making an assertion. Maitra has claimed that a bald-faced liar is engaged in a form of fictionality. If that's the case, can we disagree with a bald-faced liar? There doesn't seem to be a disagreement in doxastic state: both speaker and audience believe that what the speaker said is false. And why would there be a disagreement in activity, when it is common ground that what is said is false and the speaker has no intent to deceive? 

Against these views, I argue that we are right in judging that bald- faced lies (defeasibly) deserve more intense condemnation than  disguised lies (there may be extenuating or attenuating circumstances -- e.g. lies that are courteous or required by etiquette). If the bald-faced lies-are-fiction were a correct theory, we would be mistaken in criticizing walk backs of the illocutionary force of a bald-faced lie, e.g., that Trump's claims are to be taken "symbolically" and not literally (Scaramucci), or Giuliani's claim that his earlier statements about the timeline of negotiations with Russian officials about a Trump Tower project in Moscow were "hypothetical" and not intended to convey facts. Rather, this walk back is condemnable because indeed those statements were assertions. Bald-faced lies contribute to gaslight. Gaslighting dominates the hearer by diminishing her good epistemic stance. Bald-faced lies plant doubts in the hearer, either by questioning her perception – “who are you going to trust, me or your lying eyes?” –, her memory, or her rationality. By undermining the hearer's epistemic stance, it diminishes the hearer's degree of belief in the falsity of what the speaker said. I conclude by arguing that disagreement with a bald-face liar requires not only reinstating the truth, but also to refuse the assumption that the abusive speaker honors conversational illocutionary norms when he asserts.


Informes: Dr. Mario Gómez Torrente


Actualizado Abr 01 de 2019
    Abr 16 de 2024
© 2015-2019 Instituto de Investigaciones Filosóficas - Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
  Aviso de privacidad