Lying with Presuppositions

Noûs 54 (3):731-751 (2020)
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It is widely held that all lies are assertions: the traditional definition of lying entails that, in order to lie, speakers have to assert something they believe to be false. It is also widely held that assertion contrasts with presupposition and, in particular, that one cannot assert something by presupposing it. Together, these views imply that speakers cannot lie with presuppositions—a view that Andreas Stokke has recently explicitly defended. The aim of this paper is to argue that speakers can lie with presuppositions, and to discuss some of the implications this outcome has for current research on lying, assertion and presupposition.

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Emanuel Viebahn
Freie Universität Berlin


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