About Don Fallis
In order to survive and flourish, we all have to acquire knowledge constantly. These days, most of us use the internet to learn about finance, health, movies, popular culture, politics, etc. However, whenever we get information from other people in this way, we have to wonder whether these people really know what they are talking about. For instance, can you trust what you just read in Wikipedia? In addition, we have to consider the possibility that these people might even be trying to deceive us. For instance, did the email message that you just got really come from a Nigerian prince who wants to give you some money?
My research area is Adversarial Epistemology. That is, I study how we can acquire knowledge in a world filled with deceivers. Toward that end, I try to understand the various types of lies and disinformation that we face on the internet and in everyday life.
But I am also interested in the flip-side of Adversarial Epistemology. While we want to keep other people from misleading us, we sometimes do need to mislead other people, or at least keep them in the dark. For instance, how can we protect our credit card numbers and passwords from internet adversaries?
I received my PhD in Philosophy at the University of California, Irvine where I studied the epistemology of mathematical proof. Contrary to conventional wisdom, I argued that probabilistic proofs are just as good as deductive proofs at establishing the truth of mathematical claims. Given that we are human, any method of proof can sometimes mislead us (even if we aren't particularly worried about deceptive mathematicians).
I regularly teach courses on decision making, information economics, information ethics, information quality, and knowledge in the digital world. I am one of the organizers of the annual Information Ethics Roundtable.
Areas of Study
Research on Lying and Deception:
- "What is Lying?", Journal of Philosophy, 106, 1, (2009): 29-56.
- "Lying and Deception", Philosophers' Imprint, 10, 11, (2010).
- "What Liars Can Tell Us about the Knowledge Norm of Practical Reasoning", Southern Journal of Philosophy, 49, 4, (2011): 347-367.
- "Floridi on Disinformation", Etica & Politica, 13, 2, (2011): 201-214.
- "Davidson was Almost Right about Lying", Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 91, 2, (2013): 337-353.
- "Lying as a Violation of Grice's First Maxim of Quality", dialectica, 66, 4, (2012): 563-581.
- (with Adam Arico) "Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics: An Empirical Study of the Concept of Lying", Philosophical Psychology, 26, 6, (2013): 790-816.
- "What is Deceptive Lying?", Paper presented at the Pacific Division Meeting of the American Philosophical Association, (2011).
- "A Functional Analysis of Disinformation", Paper presented at the iConference, (2014).
- "Epistemic Values and Disinformation", Virtue Epistemology Naturalized, ed. Abrol Fairweather, Springer, (2014): 159-179.
- "The Varieties of Disinformation", The Philosophy of Information Quality, eds. Luciano Floridi and Phyllis Illari, Springer, (2014): 135-161.
- "Skyrms on the Possibility of Universal Deception", Philosophical Studies, 172, 2, (2015): 375-397.
- "Are Bald-Faced Lies Deceptive After All?", Ratio, 28, 1, (2015): 81-96.
- "What is Disinformation?", Library Trends, 63, 3, (2015): 401-426.
- "Disinformation, Deception, and Politics", American Political Culture, ed. Michael Shally-Jensen. ABC-CLIO, (2015): 334-340.
- "Lying and Omissions", Oxford Handbook of Lying, ed. Jörg Meibauer, Oxford University Press, forthcoming.
- "Mis- and Dis-Information", Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Information, ed. Luciano Floridi, Routledge, forthcoming.
- "Frankfurt Wasn't Bullshitting!", Southwest Philosophical Studies, forthcoming.
Popular Writing on Lying and Deception:
- "The Most Terrific Liar You Ever Saw in Your Life", The Catcher in the Rye and Philosophy, (2012): 11-21.
- "The Many Faces of Deception", Sherlock Holmes and Philosophy, Open Court, (2011): 159-177.
- "Lies, Incorporated", Philip K. Dick and Philosophy, Open Court, (2011): 163-173.
- "The Mendacity Bifurcation", The Big Bang Theory and Philosophy, Wiley-Blackwell, (2012): 203-216.
- "It is a Great Crime to Lie to a King", Game of Thrones and Philosophy, Wiley-Blackwell, (2012): 19-32.
- "What if Nobody Walks the Straight and Narrow Track?", The Wire and Philosophy, Open Court, (2013): 97-104.
- "Are Apes Sneaky Enough to be People?", Planet of the Apes and Philosophy, Open Court, (2013): 27-38.
- "When It's Right to Lie to a Bootlegger", Boardwalk Empire and Philosophy, Open Court, (2013): 101-113.
- "They're Screwing Around with Us!", Ender's Game and Philosophy, Open Court, (2013): 107-114.
- "Epistemic Warfare on the Homefront", Homeland and Philosophy, Open Court, (2014): 119-128.
- "Machiavelli Would Not Be Impressed", House of Cards and Philosophy, Wiley-Blackwell, (2016): 92-101.
- "Who Can You Trust? The Paradox of Listening to The Who", The Who and Philosophy, Lexington, (2016): 135-144.
- "Why Would You Put a Con Artist in Charge of the Money?", Discworld and Philosophy, ed. Nicolas Michaud, Open Court, (2016): 101-111.
- "True Love and False Fronts", The Princess Bride and Philosophy, eds. Richard Greene and Rachel Robison-Greene, Open Court, (2016): 3-11.
- "Becoming Better Philosophers of Lying", Q&A for UANews.
- A discussion of Lying with Roy Sorensen on Philosophy TV.
- A discussion of Christmas Lies on Philosophy TV.
- 2003-present, Co-organizer of the Information Ethics Roundtable.
- 2006-present, Chair of the Research Group on the History and Philosophy of Information.
- 2009-present, Associate Editor, Episteme: A Journal of Individual and Social Epistemology, Cambridge University Press.
- 2011, Visiting Fellow, Centre for Ethics, Philosophy and Public Affairs, University of St. Andrews.
- 2013, Research Professorship, Social and Behavioral Sciences Research Institute, University of Arizona.
- 2014-2015, Visiting Fellow, Tanner Humanities Center, University of Utah.
- Erdös number is 5.
- Number of Journal of Philosophy articles written which begin with a quote by Philip Marlowe is 2.
- Visited the Reichenbach Fall where Sherlock Holmes faked his own death.
- PhD, University of California, Irvine, Philosophy
- MA, University of California, Irvine, Philosophy
- BA, University of California, Irvine, Philosophy
- BA, University of California, Irvine, Psychology
- Information Quality
- Knowledge in the Digital World
- Economics of Information
- Decision Making for Information Professionals
- Ethics for Information Professionals