The Game You Are in: Misleading through Social Norms and What’s Wrong with It
This paper discusses the phenomenon of misleading about “the game you are in.” Individuals who mislead others in this way draw on the fact that we rely on social norms for regulating the levels of alertness, openness, and trust we use in different epistemic situations. By pretending to be in a certain game with a certain epistemic situation, they can entice others to reveal information or to exhibit low levels of alertness, thereby acting against their own interests. I delineate this phenomenon from direct lies and acts of misleading by implication, and discuss some variations of it. I then ask why and under what conditions it is morally wrong to mislead others about the game they are in. I distinguish three normative angles for understanding the phenomenon: deontological constraints, free-riding on a shared cultural infrastructure, and implicit discrimination against outsiders and atypical candidates. I conclude by briefly discussing some practical implications.
epistemic situations, lying, misleading, social norms
Baron, Marica. 2014. “The Mens Rea and Moral Status of Manipulation.” In: Manipulation: Theory and Practice, ed. by Christian Coons and Michael Weber. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 98-121.
Bourdieu, Pierre. 1986. “The Forms of Capital”. In: Handbook for Theory and Research for the Sociology of Education, ed. J.G. Richardson, New York: Greenwood, 241-258.
Cholbi, Michael. 2014. “The Implications of Ego Depletion for the Ethics and Politics of Manipulation.” In: Manipulation: Theory and Practice, ed. by Christian Coons and Michael Weber. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 201-217.
Clark, Andy. 1996. Being There: Putting Brain, Body, and World Together Again. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Clark, Andy / Chalmers, David. 1998. “The Extended Mind.” Analysis 58(1), 10–23.
Coons, Christian / Weber, Michael. 2014. “Manipulation. Investigating the Core Concept and Its Moral Status.” In: Manipulation: Theory and Practice, ed. by Christian Coons and Michael Weber. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2-17.
De Bruin, Boujewijn. 2015. Ethics and the Global Financial Crisis: Why Incompetence is Worse than Greed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Dees, J. Gregory / Cramton, Peter C. 1991. “Shrewd bargaining on the moral frontier: toward a theory of morality in practice.” Business Ethics Quarterly 1(2), 135-167.
Fricker, Miranda. 2007. Epistemic Injustice: Power and the Ethics of Knowing. New York: Oxford University Press.
Gigerenzer, Gerd. 2010. “Moral Satisficing: Rethinking Moral Behavior as Bounded Rationality.” Topics in Cognitive Science, 528–554.
Glover, Jonathan. 1975. “It Makes no Difference Whether or Not I Do It.” Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Supplementary Volume 49, 171–190.
Granovetter, Mark. 1985. “Economic Action and Social Structure: The Problem of Embeddedness.” The American Journal of Sociology 91(3), 481–510.
Gorin, Moti. 2014. “Towards a Theory of Interpersonal Manipulation.” In: Manipulation: Theory and Practice, ed. by Christian Coons and Michael Weber. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 73-98.
Kahneman, Daniel. 2011. Thinking Fast and Slow. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
Kawall, Jason. 2002. “Other-Regarding Epistemic Virtues.” Ration (New Series) XV 3, 257–275.
Kunda, Gideon. 1996. Engineering Culture. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.
Liberman, Varda / Samuels, Steven M. / Ross, Lee. 2004. “The Name of the Game: Predictive Power of Reputations Versus Situational Labels in Determining Prisoner’s Dilemma Game Moves.“ Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 30(9), 1175–1185.
Saul, Jennifer M. 2012. Lying, Misleading, and What is Said: An Exploration in Philosophy of Language and in Ethics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Schapiro, Tamar. 2003. “Compliance, complicity, and the nature of nonideal conditions.” Journal of Philosophy 100(7), 329–355.
Webber, Jonathan. 2014. “Liar!” Analysis 73(4), 651–659.
Williams, Bernard. 2002. Truth and Truthfulness. An Essay in Genealogy. Princeton/Oxford: Princeton University Press.
Articles published in the Philosophy and Society will be Open-Access articles distributed under a CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 License.