We hold these Truths...

 I will for the purpose of maintaining the causes confided to me such means as are consistent with truth and honor, and will never seek to mislead the judge or jury by any artifice or false statement of fact or law. Oath of Admission to The Florida Bar  https://www.floridabar.org/divcom/jn/jnjournal01.nsf/Author/4F51651D215A82C085256ADB005D611F


Imagine what the law business would be like if we woke up on a Monday morning and went to work in a “post-truth” world. The Oxford Dictionaries declared “post-truth” as its 2016 word of the year; a state “in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” Travelling down this Alice-in-Wonderland rabbit hole is Gerard Baker’s recent editorial in the Wall Street Journal, Trump, ‘lies’ and Honest Journalism, in which he cautions “I’d be careful about using the word ‘lie.’ ‘Lie’ implies much more than just saying something that’s false. It implies a deliberate intent to mislead.” http://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-lies-and-honest-journalism-1483557700.

Fair enough. But here are a couple of dictionary definitions of a lie: an intentionally false statement; to make an untrue statement with intent to deceive; to create a false or misleading impression. The critical word here is “intention” which begs the question; Is it possible to “accurately know the values (or lack thereof) involved when a person speaks?” Probably not.

In his famous little book, On Bullshit, http://press.princeton.edu/titles/7929.htm, Harry Frankfurt makes an important distinction between bullshit and lying that I think is particularly pertinent:  Both the liar and the bullshitter try to get away with something. But ‘lying’ is perceived to be a conscious act of deception, whereas ‘bullshitting’ is unconnected to a concern for truth. Frankfurt regards this ‘indifference to how things really are’, as the essence of bullshit. Furthermore, a lie is necessarily false, but bullshit is not – bullshit may happen to be correct or incorrect. The crux of the matter is that bullshitters hide their lack of commitment to truth. Since bullshitters ignore truth instead of acknowledging and subverting it, bullshit is a greater enemy of truth than lies.

There is, however, no real distinction between a lie and bullshit when it comes to the form or meaning of what is actually said. When a person rejects the very idea of being true to facts and turns, instead, to an ideal based on what they assert to be a sincere belief in their own substantial and determinate nature, then, according to Frankfurt, this sincerity is also bullshit. https://philosophynow.org/issues/53/On_Bullshit_by_Harry_Frankfurt

 “Why don’t you believe him? Why isn’t it taken at face value?” Conway said in exasperation. “You can’t give him the benefit of the doubt on this and he’s telling you what was in his heart? You want to go with what’s come out of his mouth rather than what’s in his heart.” https://twitter.com/NewDay/status/818444732934201344