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Is it still a lie if you don't know it isn't true?

If you tell someone something with certainty, believing that it is true but it isn't really true, are you lying? I personally believe it is lying, although it's far more innocent that knowingly lying. I've heard others say it isn't.

Personally I believe that we have a responsibility to make sure that what we are sharing with others is true before sharing it as truth. I don't think we are entirely off the hook when we spread lies unwittingly. Of course, I think we all do that at times and I don't think it's a fatal flaw.

What do you guys think?

EDIT: I realize I got a little off track when writing my question. The question I'm more interested in is it is still a lie if you don't know it isn't true.

For example, if 100 people told me the moon was made of cheese and every single one of them believed that it really was, does that change the nature of the idea that they shared with me? Could you still say, you've been lied to, even though the intent of every person who told me the moon was made of cheese was never to deceive me?

UpsideDownAgain 7 May 18

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Repeating something that is not true, unknowingly, may be irresponsible, but it is not a lie. The act of lying implies willful deception, which is an intent that does not exist when something is just repeated. If you repeat many times to a parrot that Trump is not corrupt, and the parrot begins to repeat ir, you would be lying; the parrot would not.

If you repeat preacher lies to win your ticket to heaven you are lying to both your grave and scaring young Atheists


No,I would be lying if I said I thought it was .


For me lying requires intent to deceive.


Lying means there's intent to be dishonest. Otherwise you're just mistaken.

amen its not lying without intent


A lie is a deliberate act, it cannot be done accidentally, an accidental untruth is a mistake.


Remember Twain:
It Ain’t What You Don’t Know That Gets You Into Trouble. It’s What You Know for Sure That Just Ain’t So


I think you're a bit extreme. Lying involves deliberate misdirection and most would agree it may be what you say, or what you fail to say, but it is easy for the most genuine person to be incorrect or mistaken even perhaps because someone lied to them. I think one involves an ethical violation and the other doesn't.
Personally I would be very offended if you accused me of lying if I was merely incorrect.

that is what has happened in so many areas ppl being so extreme and self righteous I think we all do the best to say what we know at the time and a honest think person is willing to listen and rethink and correct his or her own notions and update with new information true today is not necessarily true tomarrow


As a college teacher of English, my basic understanding aligns most closely with technical writing. Punctuations have specific meaning, and words have multiple meanings. I always refer back to the newest dictionary when discussing “to lie.” When it is done with an intent to deceive, it is a lie. However, you aren’t going there with this post, so it’s moot. It reminds me of a man who once argued with me that the n-word meant “lazy, stupid.” I argued it did not. As with the c-word, it is uniquely created to denigrate a specific group with no previous use recorded in any way. It cannot quickly be cleansed through repeated, non-racist ways. He told me I didn’t understand what the word meant. 😳. I said, “If I dropped you off at a street corner in Detroit (we lived in Michigan’s UP at the time), would you yell that word?” “Oh, God, no!” he replied. Point made. The only way for words to have communal meaning is if there is an agreement on the most common usages. Point in fact—my parents often called me a little bugger, yet I had never nor have never sodomized anyone! 😉


To state something that is incorrect is to be in error, to continue to state the same thing after you become aware of the error is to lie.


As has been stated before, I do believe lying requires conscious intent.
Being wrong about something is another matter entirely.

I agree. You should, however attempt to correct the error once you find out it is not true.

@fishline79 Of course.


It is not possible for us to know everything.

We don’t have to know everything, but there is an element of responsibility in making more sure than not that what we say has some degree of accuracy, and if we are not sure, clarify that to the receiver. This is more poignant now that is so much disinformation going around the net.

not possible to know everything? thats not true at all. please show me your proof.

Publishers have been complaining about internet truth telling exposing their published lies 30 years now ..... liars have joined the cyber party along with emails from Nigerians promising your long lost cousin has oil well money for you

@JeffMesser 😂

@Rodatheist they always want to see MY proof but when asked for it they typically turn tail and run.


No, if you make an untrue statement or claim while believing it is true, then you are simply mistaken. A lie is when you deliberately make a statement or claim that you know is not true.

Deb57 Level 8 May 18, 2020

One can spread lies but this does not make them a lier if they think these lies are true .

On this point, I'm ambivalent. They neglected to verify their assumptions before repeating something as true. I posit this makes them a liar via ignorance or incompetence, not via intent, but they are a liar none the less.


So, if you’re a Mormon missionary in Italy and you believe Mormonism, but the doctrines are demonstrably false, but you still believe them, then you’re lying?
Lying, I believe, has a necessary element of intention. You’re trying to deceive someone. I agree that every person has a responsibility to be truthful (in a broad sense), but that hardly makes them deceitful when their asserting what they think is true. For example, a student simplifies (4x^3)/(28x^4)=[(4)(3)]/[( 28 )(4)]=3/28. He interprets the variable to be a multiplication symbol and cancels out the common factor. He’s wrong, but believes what he’s done. According to you, he’s lied. That’s demonstrably false.


A lie is deliberately telling a falsehood. To state what you think is the truth and then later finding out you are wrong... They call that a mistake. If you actually learn something in the process... They call that experience!


No. That is called being wrong.

It's your choice how you want to judge people on what they know or you think they should know. But by definition that is a different word.

I think if you are really intent on convincing people of the truth it is a much better tactic to show them where the mistake was rather than accuse them of being a liar.

MsAl Level 8 May 18, 2020

My definition (others may disagree):

LYING: Deliberately deceiving. INTENDING to portray that which is false as true or vice versa. So no - for me, someone who states what they BELIEVE to be true is not a liar. They may be stupid, they may be delusional, they may be ill educated, they may be careless, they may be irrational - they may be a whole raft of things they should be ashamed of being, but they're not a liar.


Lie and mistaken are slightly diffenent in defination.

Lie carries an intent to represent false as true. A mistake could be rather honest incorrectness or wrong.

If you notice from dictionary it says "especially of a belief", belief means to hold something as true. If what is believed to be true turns out to be incorrect it is a mistaken belief not a lie.

noun: lie; plural noun: lies
an intentionally false statement.
"the whole thing is a pack of lies"
used with reference to a situation involving deception or founded on a mistaken impression.
"all their married life she had been living a lie"

wrong in one's opinion or judgment.
"she wondered whether she'd been mistaken about his intentions"
wrong erroneous inaccurate incorrect inexact false fallacious unsound unfounded misguided misinformed
(especially of a belief) based on or resulting from a misunderstanding or faulty judgment.

Word Level 8 May 18, 2020

Lying means deliberately not telling the truth. If you were convinced that what you said was true, you passed mistakenly wrong information and, if confronted, just admit it was a mistake.


How could we possibly make sure every thing we share with other people is the truth .We are constantly being subjected with information on a daily basis .Also just because a fact is not true does not mean it was intended to be deceitful.This is being misinformed


As a heavy Facebook sharer, I have from time to time posted memes which were called out (backed with factual, information and resources) as untrue. When this happens, I post an apology, often the correction and after a period of time delete the original post.
We all make mistakes and in the speed of life online post memes and others opinions without due process. Unlike Trump, we should not pass blame on to others for our oversight, but correct the mistake as publicly as feasible and Be more cautious in the future to research before sharing.
But in agreement with others on here, to actually be termed a lie I think requires knowingly stating an obvious falsehood and defending that in the face of substantial proof to the contrary. Thus why my terminology for this action is now being referred to as a “TRUMPISM”.


If you know you don't have solid justification for something you assert unequivocally then you are guilty of overstatement and recklessness, but not lying as I understand the word.

Interesting point of view I'm on the fence


I think for it to be a lie you have to be aware that it is untrue.

If you think it is true, but it actually isn't, then you are just mistaken.


It is still a lie, but it doesn't make the person a liar--just a unknowing purveyor of untruths.

@VeronikaAnnJ Great minds think alike! I have pondered this question before.


No, that's a mistake.

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