Subjects of Deceit

A Phenomenology of Lying

By Alison Leigh Brown

Subjects: Cultural Studies
Paperback : 9780791436745, 173 pages, January 1998
Hardcover : 9780791436738, 173 pages, January 1998

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Table of contents




1. The Philosophers' Eyes


Other Eyes
Closed-Eye Desiring
Weeping, Hegel Finds a Body


2. Dissembling


Eagle-Eyes: NietzscheĀ—Hegel
Performing Identities: Lying Through Our Teeth
Abjection: "I'm Not Taking It Lying Down. "


3. Bodies in Disguise: The Naked Truth


Secret Skin
The Production of Meaning as Improvisational Theater
Pretending Power: Re-representations
The Lie of Omission
Lying within Language Games
Bodies in Disguise


4. Subjects of Deceit: A Phenomenology of Lying


Concerning Subjects of Deceit
A Phenomenology of Lying
Moral Concerns
Of Human Bondage and Unity
Subjects of Deceit





Explores the connection between epistemological and moral "lying," interspersing a phenomenology of deceit with a continuing dialogue between the phenomenologist and one of her students.


Philosophy has traditionally concerned itself with truth and the knowledge of truth, but in recent years these concerns have been undermined or redirected. Systematic philosophy is said to be dead. Thus epistemology, according to this popular series of views, is properly transformed into epistemologies. If we accept multiple epistemologies, however, truth and lying become even more frightening and elusive: lying always coexists with truth. In this book, Alison Leigh Brown explores the connection between epistemological and moral "lying. " She shows that although telling a lie (a moral category) is not the same thing as being in untruth (an epistemological category), these two aspects of life are related. Throughout the book, a phenomenology of deceit is interspersed with a continuing dialogue between the phenomenologist and one of her students.

Alison Leigh Brown is Associate Professor of Philosophy in the Women's Studies Department at Northern Arizona State University. She is the author of Fear, Truth, and Writing: From Paper Village to Electronic Community, also published by SUNY Press.


"I like this book's 'performativity,' the way that the author demonstrates and enacts through the mixing of philosophical and literary genres the arguments regarding lying and deception. Professor Brown's methodology is itself a deep insight regarding the subjects of deceit and lying and readers will be charmed by her approach. She deals with a range of authors from Hegel to Gilles Deleuze to Judith Butler in a way that is way off what, by now, has become too much of a beaten track. Her approach is completely fresh and deserves wide recognition. The book is at the center of a whole series of debates in feminism, continental philosophy, Hegel, social theory, and what has lately been called 'performance studies. '" -- Bill Martin, DePaul University at Chicago

"The great strength of this book is its willingness to investigate--not just at a theoretical level, but in its very style of writing--the metaphysical canon that postmodernism has taught us to put into question. To put metaphysics into question does not mean to do away with it entirely, but rather to expose the dimensions on which metaphysics rests. There is a real postmodern flavor about this entire project--its conception, execution, contents, and style. And that will put some readers off. But it has to be admitted that it is a new, audacious, and humorous intervention into the debate over postmodernism, which succeeds in posing fresh questions about old dilemmas in a way that is startling, unsettling, and original. " -- Tina Chanter, University of Memphis