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Joined: March 29, 2012
Comments posted: 1
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I wholeheartedly agree with most of the points SM makes. However, in reference to the third paragraph of the comment, it seems to me that a statement used to distract or deceive may or may not be a lie. I think the most agreed-upon requisite of a lie is that its perpetrator believes his or her statement to be false. A person who makes a statement he believes to be true would probably not commonly be thought to be lying, even though he may be intentionally distracting someone from learning the facts of a matter. In that light, the child saying "Mommmy I love you." when asked about a mess he was caught making is employing duplicity and deceit, but I don't think he is lying. That is, unless he believes that he does not love his mother. A lie is only one of various forms of deceit.

I think it's helpful that our language helps us minutely differentiate various forms of deception. Widening the usage of "lie" to include any type of deception, whether or not it entails the statement of falsehood, hinders our ability to clearly describe deception in all its forms. (That's not to say that the development of language in any way "cares" what I think is helpful!)

Jody March 29, 2012, 7:51pm

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