Does Pinocchio's nose grow only when he knows he is lying?

Edmund Dantes 09/19/2018. 1 answers, 11.407 views
pinocchio

I have been giving a thought to this statement:

If Pinocchio’s nose grows whenever he pronounces a false statement, it would make a marvellous tool for science, and Pinocchio could test any hypothesis easily and instantly.

source

Naturally, Pinocchio is not all-knowing, therefore a question raises, does he have to be aware that he is lying for his nose to grow? Or does it grow every time a statement he says is false?

I am mostly interested in the original The Adventures of Pinocchio, but if there is no sufficient information, any derived works like the Disney movie will work too.

1 Answers


sudhanva 09/19/2018.

Here is the text from The Adventures of Pinocchio where the fairy tells him why his nose is growing:

The Fairy sat looking at him and laughing.
"Why do you laugh?" the Marionette asked her, worried now at the sight of his growing nose.
"I am laughing at your lies."
"How do you know I am lying?"
"Lies, my boy, are known in a moment. There are two kinds of lies, lies with short legs and lies with long noses. Yours, just now, happen to have long noses."

The Oxford dictionary defines a lie as:

an intentionally false statement.

Merriam Webster's definition of a lie is:

to make an untrue statement with intent to deceive

While we can't verify that the author went by these particular definitions, the meaning of "lies" can be presumed to be equivalent to the above definitions. The defining factor of a lie that separates it from a mere false statement is that there is an intent to falsify something.

I doubt we will ever find a canonical instance where Pinocchio states a false statement (without an intention to deceive) just to test if his nose grows. Till the time that happens (if it does), I submit that we assume that Pinocchio cannot be used as a marvellous tool for science, due to the distinction between a false statement and a lie.


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