A Formal Account of Dishonesty

Chiaki Sakama* (Corresponding Author), Martin Caminada, Andreas Herzig

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)
5 Downloads (Pure)


This article provides formal accounts of dishonest attitudes of agents. We introduce a propositional multi-modal logic that can represent an agent's belief and intention as well as communication between agents. Using the language, we formulate different categories of dishonesty. We first provide two different definitions of lies and provide their logical properties. We then consider an incentive behind the act of lying and introduce lying with objectives. We subsequently define bullshit, withholding information and half-truths, and analyse their formal properties. We compare different categories of dishonesty in a systematic manner, and examine their connection to deception. We also propose maxims for dishonest communication that agents should ideally try to satisfy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)259-294
Number of pages36
JournalThe Logic Journal of the IGPL
Issue number2
Early online date29 Dec 2014
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2015


  • dishonesty
  • multi-modal logic
  • belief and intention
  • communication


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