Empirically Investigating the Concept of Lying


Lying is an everyday moral phenomenon about which philosophers have written a lot. Not only the moral status of lying has been intensively discussed but also what it means to lie in the first place. Perhaps the most important criterion for an adequate definition of lying is that it fits with people’s understanding and use of this concept. In this light, it comes as a surprise that researchers only recently started to empirically investigate the folk concept of lying. In this paper, we describe three experimental studies which address the following questions: Does a statement need to be objectively false in order to constitute lying? Does lying necessarily include the intention to deceive? Can one lie by omitting relevant facts?

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Change history

  • 24 November 2017

    The funding information is missing in the original article. It is given below.


  1. 1.

    We put “bias” in quotation marks because it is only a bias if you assume that the objective view is right.


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Correspondence to Alex Wiegmann.

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A correction to this article is available online at https://doi.org/10.1007/s40961-017-0123-9.

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Wiegmann, A., Rutschmann, R. & Willemsen, P. Empirically Investigating the Concept of Lying. J. Indian Counc. Philos. Res. 34, 591–609 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40961-017-0112-z

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  • Concept of lying
  • Lying
  • Definition of lying
  • Experimental philosophy