Davidson was almost right about lying

Don Fallis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Donald Davidson once suggested that a liar must intend to represent himself as believing what he does not. In this paper I argue that, while Davidson was mistaken about lying in a few important respects, his main insight yields a very attractive definition of lying. Namely, you lie if and only if you say something that you do not believe and you intend to represent yourself as believing what you say. Moreover, I show that this Davidsonian definition can handle counter-examples that undercut four prominent definitions of lying: viz., the traditional intend-to-deceive definition, Thomas Carson's definition, Don Fallis's definition, and Andreas Stokke's definition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)337-353
Number of pages17
JournalAustralasian Journal of Philosophy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2013


  • Conceptual Analysis
  • Donald Davidson
  • Lying

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy


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