ABSTRACT

This chapter provides an overview of the nature of lies and conspiracy theories, including how they are used to instill and propagate hatred of others. The premise adopted here is that metaphorical language is what makes them powerful and highly believable. Although there are other discourse strategies that are used to perpetrate and perpetuate so-called “big lies,” the claim is made that the metaphorical mapping of source domains onto target domains is what allows the liar and conspiracist to coordinate the elements of the lie into a coherent pseudo-argument. The ideas of Thomas Hobbes and Friedrich Nietzsche, who saw metaphor as the key to unraveling the nature of mendacity, are discussed in reference to current work on conceptual metaphor theory.