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date: 18 January 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Lying and fiction both involve the deliberate production of statements that fail to obey Grice’s first Maxim of Quality (“do not say what you believe to be false”). The question thus arises if we can provide a uniform analysis for fiction and lies. This chapter discusses the similarities, but also some fundamental differences between lying and fiction. It argues that there is little hope for a satisfying account within a traditional truth-conditional semantic framework. Rather than immediately moving to a fully pragmatic analysis involving distinct speech acts of fiction-making and lying, the chapter first explores how far we get with the assumption that both are simply assertions, analyzed in a Stalnakerian framework, i.e., as proposals to update the common ground.

Keywords: lying, fiction, semantics/pragmatics interface, Stalnaker, assertion, speech acts, common ground, acceptance, imagination

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