Lying, Misleading, and What is Said: An Exploration in Philosophy of Language and in Ethics

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Many people (both philosophers and not) find it very natural to think that deceiving someone in a way that avoids lying–by merely misleading–is morally preferable to simply lying. Others think that this preference is deeply misguided. But all sides agree that there is a distinction. In Lying, Misleading, and What is Said, Jennifer Saul undertakes a close examination of the lying/misleading distinction. Saul begins by using this very intuitive distinction to shed new light on entrenched debates in philosophy of language over notions like what is said. Next, she tackles the puzzling but widespread moral preference for misleading over lying, and arrives at a new view regarding the moral significance of the distinction. Finally, Saul draws her conclusions together to examine a range of historically important and interesting cases, from a consideration of modern politicians to the early Jesuits.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (December 29, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199603685
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199603688
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 0.7 x 5.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces

Customer Reviews

A perfect combination of ethic and philosophy of language

 on April 19, 2014
By Franca
This is a brilliant and well-informed reconstruction of recent debates about lying and misleading, including an interesting proposal concerning what should be an analysis of language with ethical implications.


 on November 4, 2015
By john hiller
An unemotional discussion of lying and misleading. Just what I wanted. Of course lying often leads to an emotional response and then things get interesting. The way the lie is framed can provoke the emotion and subsequently mislead. Also the truth can provoke if phrased appropriately — to misuse the word. Saul is not on about emotion.

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