Author Archives: kjh5

Lying with Bar Graphs

This post at The Philosophers’ Magazine is one of a collection of pieces by philosophers on the UK General Election 2017.  I complain about election leaflets carrying bar graphs where the relative sizes of the bars is out of all proportion to the vote shares they supposedly represent.  The lurking philosophical issue is whether the lying/merely misleading distinction can sensibly be applied to pictorial representations as well as to written/verbal language.  (Yes, and such bar graphs are outright lies.)

Not Exactly a Lie, But…

Is it better to be evasive than to tell an outright lie?

This post at Psychology Today distinguishes lying from misleading, and discusses the ethical significance of the distinction, with reference to Jenny Saul’s book Lying, Misleading, and What is Said (OUP 2012).  I was prompted to think about this by my work on a paper ‘Lies and Coercion’, forthcoming in Michaelson and Stokke (eds.) Lying (OUP), but the post doesn’t draw directly on my paper.

Why Are We So Divided?


After a bitter election, we urgently need more mutual understanding.

This post at Psychology Today uses the US election as hook to introduce ideas about strategic ignorance and social power (with reference to Charles W. Mills).  There are subsurface connections to my paper ‘Social Science as a Guide to Social Metaphysics’, forthcoming in Journal of General Philosophy of Science.



But I Didn’t Mean to Let You Down!

How trustworthiness requires good judgement as well as good intentions.  This post at Psychology Today explores the ways in which we can let other people down when we over-commit, or underestimate the difficulty of a task – this form of untrustworthiness stands alongside the more obvious forms involving dishonesty or intentional manipulation.  I briefly mention situations in which it is difficult for us to say ‘no’ to new commitments.

The post develops a theme which is obvious in philosophical work on trustworthiness in testimony (where competence is to the fore, alongside sincerity), but sometimes less obvious in philosophical work on trust in practical situations.