Don Fallis

Don Fallis's picture
Professor, Information Resources and Library Science; Adjunct Associate Professor, Philosophy; Faculty, GIDP in Cognitive Science



Chair, Advanced Studies Committee

Curriculum Vitae

Papers at SSRN

I received my PhD in Philosophy at the University of California, Irvine. In particular, I studied the philosophy of mathematics. When I came to work in a library and information science program, I had to reinvent myself both as a teacher and a researcher. However, the necessary transformation was not as drastic as I might have expected.

In my previous studies, I looked at how mathematicians acquire knowledge. Now I am looking at how people in general acquire knowledge from other people. In particular, I am doing research on how people acquire knowledge from other people through information sources such as books and the Internet. I regularly teach a course that looks at how to make it easier for people to evaluate the quality of information.

The project of figuring out which social practices best facilitate the acquisition of knowledge is known as social epistemology. Several library scientists (most notably, Jesse Shera) have long argued that social epistemology is central to library science. For example, librarians typically want patrons to be better informed when they leave the library. I teach a course that applies various results in social epistemology to library and information science.

In addition to courses about social epistemology, I teach some courses for those who intend to become managers of information services. In particular, I teach a course that looks at decision making techniques that will allow managers to run their libraries more efficiently. Also I teach a course that looks specifically at the economics of disseminating information and its impact on information services.

Finally, I teach a course on ethics for library and information professionals. This course applies ethical theories to important issues (censorship, privacy, intellectual property, etc.) that regularly confront all library and information professionals. By the way, I am also one of the organizers of the annual Information Ethics Roundtable which focuses on these same issues.



  • PhD, University of California, Irvine, Philosophy
  • MA, University of California, Irvine, Philosophy
  • BA, University of California, Irvine, Philosophy
  • BA, University of California, Irvine, Psychology

Research Interests: 

  • Epistemology
  • Social Epistemology
  • Philosophy of Information
  • Information Ethics

 Research on Lying and Deception:

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, forthcoming.
  • "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.


Selected Publications: 

Courses Taught: 

  • Information Quality
  • Social Epistemology and Information Science
  • Economics of Information
  • Decision Making for Library and Information Professionals
  • Ethics for Library and Information Professionals


Areas of Study: 

My teaching areas are Information Ethics, Decision Making for Information Professionals, Social Epistemology, Information Quality, and Economics of Information.  My research areas are Social Epistemology, Information Quality, and Philosophy of Information.  My main LIS service has been to organize the SIRLS Research Brown Bag Series, the SIRLS Distinguished Lectures, and the annual Information Ethics Roundtable.  The Roundtable has brought together LIS researchers and practitioners to discuss such topics as Privacy, Cultural Property, Information Rights, and Disinformation.