The Linguistics of Misrepresentation: Intentions and Truth Values
Charnock, Ross (2010), The Linguistics of Misrepresentation: Intentions and Truth Values, International Journal for the Semiotics of Law, 23, 4, p. 427-449. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11196-010-9165-x
TypeArticle accepté pour publication ou publié
Journal nameInternational Journal for the Semiotics of Law
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Abstract (EN)During contractual negotiations, one party may lead the other into error, thus causing loss or damage. If misrepresentation is shown, the aggrieved party may therefore claim for damages or rescission. In the English law, it was for many years unclear whether a finding of misrepresentation required proof of deliberate, intentional fraud, or whether it could be analysed as a simple failure of consensus, in which case it would be sufficient to show negligence. According to the traditional rule, the misleading declaration had to be factually false, and concern an existing state of affairs or a verifiable past event. However, expressions of personal opinion or of future intention can mislead, although they cannot sensibly be considered as true or false. Further, in practice, many literally true sentences are liable to give false impressions. Such statements may be ambiguous or only partly true. Like linguists and ethical philosophers, the judges are confronted with recursive problems of understanding and re-interpretation. Citations from a number of celebrated English cases are given to show that in spite of significant developments, no legal rules or principles can satisfactorily account for intuitions concerning intentional behaviour and morality.
Subjects / KeywordsBelief; Future intention; Rule-following; Literal truth; Misrepresentation; Personal opinion; Promise
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