The Varieties of Disinformation

Don Fallis

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

36 Scopus citations


Intentionally misleading information (aka Disinformation) is ubiquitous and can be extremely dangerous. Emotional, financial, and even physical harm can easily result if people are misled by deceptive advertising, government propaganda, doctored photographs, forged documents, fake maps, internet frauds, fake websites, and manipulated Wikipedia entries. In order to deal with this serious threat to Information Quality, we need to improve our understanding of the nature and scope of disinformation. One way that work in philosophy can help with this task is by identifying and classifying the various types of disinformation, such as lies, spin, and even bullshit. If we are aware of the various ways that people might try to mislead us, we will be in a better position to avoid being duped by intentionally misleading information. Toward this end, this essay surveys and extends classification schemes that have been proposed by several noted philosophers—including Saint Augustine, Roderick Chisholm, and Paul Grice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSynthese Library
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media B.V.
Number of pages27
StatePublished - 2014

Publication series

NameSynthese Library
ISSN (Print)0166-6991
ISSN (Electronic)2542-8292


  • Epistemic Goal
  • Information Quality
  • Misleading Information
  • Representational Content
  • True Belief

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History and Philosophy of Science
  • History
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Logic


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