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Volume 48 • Number 4

October 2011



 

 

What Lies Behind Misspeaking


by Roy Sorensen


What distinguishes misspeaking from lying? Not the intent to deceive. For that often causes a slip of the tongue: "Officer, I always stop when the traffic light turns green!" Sincerity is the real difference. If the asserter connects his speech to his belief-forming processes, then he is sincere. Opening this channel may result in garbled transmission— and criticism for misarticulation. But to be guilty of lying, the speaker must connect his speech to a process governing other attitudes such as supposition. This is why correlating eye movements with mental processes (remembering versus imagining) is thought to assist lie detection. Sincerity is a matter of connecting a speech act with the processes governing its corresponding propositional attitude. Since the connection is to the process, not the deep attitude itself, the standard of sincerity is surprisingly low.


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American Philosophical Quarterly is published by the University of Illinois Press on behalf of North American Philosophical Publications.

ISSN: 2152-1123