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What Counts as a Lie? Exploring the Roles of Linguistic Meaning and Contextual Variation

Event time: 
Friday, April 19, 2019 - 12:00pm to 1:30pm
Dow Hall (DOW) See map
370 Temple Street
New Haven, CT 06511
Event description: 

Defining what counts as a lie has proved to be a difficult task across many disciplines; in this talk, I approach the question from a linguistic perspective, specifically considering pragmatic notions of what it means to “mean” something and the role of context in lie judgments. At the core of this research is the false implicature – saying something that is technically true but implies something false, like saying “My father works for the FBI” when my father is, in fact, a janitor for the FBI, or “some committee members were accused of corruption” when, in fact, all of them were. This research investigates peoples’ judgments on whether such cases are lies and examines how situational context causes variation in these judgments. In this talk, I will explore contextual variation related to the genre of discourse and speaker-related political biases alongside the linguistic considerations, utilizing data from lie judgment tasks. The talk will conclude by discussing implications for linguistic theories of meaning and approaches to defining lying.

Event Type: 
Lunch Talks