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Speech MattersOn Lying, Morality, and the Law$
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Seana Valentine Shiffrin

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780691157023

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691157023.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Speech Matters

Seana Valentine Shiffrin

Princeton University Press

This book explores the relationship between discursive communication and moral agency, with the goal of unifying a variety of issues about communicative ethics, including issues about lying, promissory fidelity, and freedom of speech. It argues that keener attention to the moral significance of communication would illuminate both the justificatory foundations of the prohibition against lying as well as the moral and legal prohibition against curtailing freedom of speech. Both prohibitions serve as moral protections of the reliability of communication and thereby preserve the conditions for moral agency, moral connection, and moral progress. The book defends a qualified absolutism about lying that distinguishes the wrong of the lie from the wrong involved in deception. It also examines whether, how, and why it should matter that one's interlocutor is a moral criminal, the infamous Murderer at the Door. Finally, it tackles the question of whether promises made under duress have moral force.

Keywords:   discursive communication, moral agency, communicative ethics, lying, freedom of speech, moral progress, deception, Murderer at the Door, promises, duress

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