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All Bullshit and Lies?Insincerity, Irresponsibility, and the Judgment of Untruthfulness$
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Chris Heffer

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780190923280

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190923280.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 29 November 2021

Discourse and Democracy

Discourse and Democracy

The TRUST Heuristic and Sample Analyses

(p.233) 8 Discourse and Democracy
All Bullshit and Lies?

Chris Heffer

Oxford University Press

This chapter summarizes the main analytical moves in the TRUST heuristic for analyzing untruthfulness. It then applies the heuristic to three short texts that have been widely called out as lies: Trump’s tweet about large-scale voter fraud just before the 2016 presidential elections; the “Brexit Battle Bus” claim that the United Kingdom sent £350 million per week to the European Union; and Tony Blair’s 2002 statement to Parliament about Iraq possessing weapons of mass destruction. The cases share a common theme: the capacity of untruthful public discourse to undermine democratic legitimacy by, respectively, questioning the integrity of electoral procedures, harming the capacity of voters to make a rational choice, and undermining faith in the rational and responsible deliberation of one’s leaders. The chapter troubles the simple attribution of lying in these cases and shows how a TRUST analysis can lead to a deeper understanding of the types and ethical value of untruthfulness.

Keywords:   lying, misleading, distortion, public discourse, democratic legitimacy, untruthfulness, insincerity, epistemic irresponsibility, voter fraud, Iraq Inquiry

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