Less Wrong is a community blog devoted to refining the art of human rationality. Please visit our About page for more information.

tadasdatys comments on Social Insight: When a Lie Is Not a Lie; When a Truth Is Not a Truth - Less Wrong Discussion

7 Post author: Bound_up 11 August 2017 06:28PM

You are viewing a comment permalink. View the original post to see all comments and the full post content.

Comments (58)

You are viewing a single comment's thread.

Comment author: tadasdatys 11 August 2017 07:12:56PM 2 points [-]

<...> then perhaps telling a lie in a way that you know will communicate a true concept is not a lie.

This is fair.

There are certain truths which literally cannot be spoken to some people.

But this is a completely different case. Lies told to stupid people are still lies, the stupid people don't understand the truth behind them, and you have communicated nothing. You could argue that those lies are somehow justified, but there is no parallel between lying to stupid people and things like "You're the best".

Comment author: Bound_up 11 August 2017 07:17:16PM 0 points [-]

Can you say it again while tabooing "lie?"

My guess is that you're saying that if X says something that they know will be interpreted as abc, then it is a lie even if abc is true, if X personally interprets the statement as xyz, or perhaps if the "true" meaning of the thing is xyz instead of abc

Comment author: tadasdatys 11 August 2017 07:48:26PM 0 points [-]

Case 1: Alice tells Bob that "X is true", Bob then interprets this as "Y is true"

Case 2: Alice tells Bob that "X is true", because Bob would be too stupid to understand it if she said "Y is true". Now Bob believes that "X is true".

These two cases are very different. You spend the first half of your post in case 1, and then suddenly jump to case 2 for the other half.

Comment author: Bound_up 11 August 2017 09:28:30PM 0 points [-]

Supposing that Y is the correct answer to a question, but you are incapable of communicating it to Y, some kind of less or differently true substitute must be used, in terms of the language that they speak and understand

Comment author: tadasdatys 12 August 2017 06:36:39AM 0 points [-]

Sure, and if X really is the best approximation of Y that Bob can understand, then again Alice is not dishonest. Although I'm not sure what "approximation" means exactly.

But there is also a case where Alice tells Bob that "X is true", not because X is somehow close to Y, but because, supposedly, X and Y both imply some Z. This is again a very different case. I think this is just pure and simple lying. That is, the vast majority of lies ever told fall into this category (for example, Z could be "you shouldn't jail me", X could be "I didn't kill anyone" and Y could be "sure, I killed someone, but I promise I won't do it again").

In general, the problem is that you didn't give specific examples, so I don't really know what case you're referring to.