What is it about?

A statement is a lie if it is believed to be false. But what about promises and other 'speech acts', like questions, requests and declarations? This study analyses the conditions under which a promise can be a lie. It introduces a distinction between insincere intentions (you don't intend to do what you promised) and insincere beliefs (you don't believe you will do what you promised). The relevance of this distinction is then tested with a survey, showing that English speakers call a lie any promise accompanied by either insincere intentions, or insincere beliefs, or both.

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Why is it important?

- Extends the definition of lying to explicit performatives - Develops a general account of insincerity that applies to every speech act - Introduces a distinction between insincere beliefs and insincere intentions in promising, showing how this relates to lying - Shows that English speakers classify as lies promises with sincere intentions (as long as they involve insincere beliefs), and promises with sincere beliefs (as long as they involve insincere intentions)

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This page is a summary of: Lying by Promising, International Review of Pragmatics, January 2016, Brill, DOI: 10.1163/18773109-00802005.
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