• Patulia
    16
    "Can you lie but at the same time tell the truth?"
    This question came up to my mind quite recently, and I personally find it intriguing because I think lying is more than just not telling the truth, which, however, is what the definition of lying says, isn't it?

    To explain myself I'm going to give an example:
    Let's say you and your friend are in a field. Your friend is blindfolded and cannot see what's going on around him or her; you, on the other hand, have your eyes opened and can have a look at your surroundings. At one point, you see an animal you identify as a dog, but for some reason, you choose to tell your temporary blind friend that what you saw was a cat.

    Everyone can agree on the fact that what you have just said is a lie, since you have willingly stated something which is not true.

    But if the animal came closer to you and you realized that you were wrong and that it was a cat, not a dog, would this still make what you told your friend a lie?

    Should we consider only objective truth when talking about lying or should we take in consideration also what *we* consider being the truth, so subjective factors?
  • Pattern-chaser
    1.5k
    Should we consider only objective truth when talking about lying or should we take in consideration also what *we* consider being the truth, so subjective factorsPatulia

    I think this is a great example of how unhelpful the concept of "objective truth" can be. As for lying, I think it includes an element of intention. If you told an untruth unknowingly, it's a lie in the sense that what you said is incorrect, but you did not intend to mislead, and you told the truth as you understood it. So is it really a "lie"? It comes down to semantics, and the definition of "lie" that you decide upon.
  • Terrapin Station
    10.4k
    Honesty versus dishonesty (lying) depends on what the person in question believes.

    You're honest if you report what you believe. You're dishonest if you report something that you take to contradict what you believe.

    So if you believe you see a dog, but you say you see a cat, you're being dishonest/you're lying. The fact that it turns out to be a cat is irrelevant (for whether you're being honest).
  • Relativist
    718
    We should draw a distinction between telling an untruth and telling a lie.

    When you tell the friend there is a cat, you have lied despite it actually being true. When you mistakenly believe the temperature is 35 degrees (it's actually 34 degrees) and you tell someone this, you have told an untruth but have not lied.
  • Relativist
    718
    Given the subject, shouldn't this be merged with the all-inclusive Donald Trump thread? :wink:
  • Mariner
    367
    Yes. You tell the truth in such a way that your interlocutor disbelieves it.

    In other words, you introduce a divergence between the spoken and the non-verbal language. People usually go for the non-verbal, and therefore disbelieve the spoken.

    A skill mastered by many teenagers.
  • MrCrowley
    6
    Sure you can.

    If you intentionally divulge only parts of whole truth as you know it, you give a dishonest representation of the matter at hand, thus leading the audience to form a distorted image of the events.
  • god must be atheist
    249
    A resounding YES!

    People can agree to speak in negative, or negative denying terms (lies) when they want to affirm, confirm, or state things.

    "I did not go to bed last night at 8 pm" would mean "I went to bed last night at 8 pm". The utterance is a lie, but it's been agreed that negatories must be taken the other way around.
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