Everybody lies: deception levels in various domains of life

Biosemiotics (2) (2022)
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The goal of this paper is to establish a hierarchical level of deception which does not apply only to humans and non-human animals, but also to the rest of the living world, including plants. We will follow the hierarchical categorization of deception, set forth by Mitchell (1986), in which the first level of deception starts with mimicry, while the last level of deception includes learning and intentionality, usually attributed to primates. We will show how such a hierarchy can be attributed to bacteria, plants, and fungi, see that self-deception is not inherent only to humans, and then connect the evolutionary roots of deception with the philosophical notion of intentionality.

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Kristina Šekrst
University of Zagreb


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