Research Group
in Analytic Philosophy

(Not Necessarily Credible) Deniability

17 April 2024  |  15:00  |  Seminari de Filosofia UB


'Plausible deniability' denotes a phenomenon whereby a speaker who has uttered a sentence that carries an inference i can deny having intended to communicate i. Plausible deniability appears most clearly in cases of insinuation, such as when a speeding driver tries to bribe a police officer by saying: 'Is there any way we can settle this right now?'. In this talk, we explore the concept of 'plausible deniability'. Our purpose is mainly negative: we argue against various possible construals of 'plausible deniability', and specifically we focus on epistemic theories, according to which a speaker has deniability relative to i just in case they craft their message in a way that preserves uncertainty as to whether they really meant i. We finish by sketching an alternative, normative view of deniability.