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Norms of Assertion: Truth, Lies, and Warrant

Palgrave-Macmillan (2015)

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  1. P, but You Don't Know That P.Christopher Willard-Kyle - forthcoming - Synthese.
    Unlike first-person Moorean sentences, it’s not always awkward to assert, 'p, but you don’t know that p.' This can seem puzzling: after all, one can never get one’s audience to know the asserted content by speaking thus. Nevertheless, such assertions can be conversationally useful, for instance, by helping speaker and addressee agree on where to disagree. I will argue that such assertions also make trouble for the growing family of views about the norm of assertion that what licenses proper assertion (...)
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  • Being in a Position to Know is the Norm of Assertion.Christopher Willard-Kyle - 2020 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 101 (2):328-352.
    This paper defends a new norm of assertion: Assert that p only if you are in a position to know that p. We test the norm by judging its performance in explaining three phenomena that appear jointly inexplicable at first: Moorean paradoxes, lottery propositions, and selfless assertions. The norm succeeds by tethering unassertability to unknowability while untethering belief from assertion. The PtK‐norm foregrounds the public nature of assertion as a practice that can be other‐regarding, allowing asserters to act in the (...)
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  • Assertion is Weak.Matthew Mandelkern & Kevin Dorst - forthcoming - Philosophers' Imprint.
    Recent work has argued that belief is weak: the level of rational credence required for belief is relatively low. That literature has contrasted belief with assertion, arguing that the latter requires an epistemic state much stronger than (weak) belief—perhaps knowledge or even certainty. We argue that this is wrong: assertion is just as weak as belief. We first present a variety of new arguments for this claim, and then show that the standard arguments for stronger norms are not convincing. Finally, (...)
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  • Against Selfless Assertions.Ivan Milić - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (9):2277-2295.
    Lackey’s (2007) class of “selfless assertions” is controversial in at least two respects: it allows propositions that express Moorean absurdity to be asserted warrantedly, and it challenges the orthodox view that the speaker’s belief is a necessary condition for warranted assertibility. With regard to the former point, I critically examine Lackey’s broadly Gricean treatment of Moorean absurdity and McKinnon’s (2015) epistemic approach. With regard to the latter point, I defend the received view by supporting the knowledge account, on which knowledge (...)
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  • Just Do It? When to Do What You Judge You Ought to Do.Julien Dutant & Clayton Littlejohn - 2018 - Synthese 195 (9):3755-3772.
    While it is generally believed that justification is a fallible guide to the truth, there might be interesting exceptions to this general rule. In recent work on bridge-principles, an increasing number of authors have argued that truths about what a subject ought to do are truths we stand in some privileged epistemic relation to and that our justified normative beliefs are beliefs that will not lead us astray. If these bridge-principles hold, it suggests that justification might play an interesting role (...)
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  • Knowledgeable Assertion in the Image of Knowledgeable Belief.Nick Hughes - 2019 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 62 (2):168-184.
    ABSTRACTI describe two ways of thinking about what constitutes a knowledgeable assertion – the ‘orthodox view’ and the ‘isomorphic view’. I argue that we should discard the orthodox view and replace it with the isomorphic view. The latter is more natural and has greater theoretical utility than the former.
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  • Assertion: A Function First Account.Christoph9 Kelp - 2016 - Noûs 50 (2):411-442.
    This paper aims to develop a novel account of the normativity of assertion. Its core thesis is that assertion has an etiological epistemic function, viz. to generate knowledge in hearers. In conjunction with a general account of etiological functions and their normative import, it is argued that an assertion is epistemically good if and only if it has the disposition to generate knowledge in hearers. In addition, reason is provided to believe that it makes sense to regulate the practice of (...)
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  • Hedged Assertion.Matthew A. Benton & Peter Van Elswyk - 2020 - In Sanford Goldberg (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Assertion. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 245-263.
    Surprisingly little has been written about hedged assertion. Linguists often focus on semantic or syntactic theorizing about, for example, grammatical evidentials or epistemic modals, but pay far less attention to what hedging does at the level of action. By contrast, philosophers have focused extensively on normative issues regarding what epistemic position is required for proper assertion, yet they have almost exclusively considered unqualified declaratives. This essay considers the linguistic and normative issues side-by-side. We aim to bring some order and clarity (...)
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  • Endorsement and Assertion.Will Fleisher - 2021 - Noûs 55 (2):363-384.
    Scientists, philosophers, and other researchers commonly assert their theories. This is surprising, as there are good reasons for skepticism about theories in cutting-edge research. I propose a new account of assertion in research contexts that vindicates these assertions. This account appeals to a distinct propositional attitude called endorsement, which is the rational attitude of committed advocacy researchers have to their theories. The account also appeals to a theory of conversational pragmatics known as the Question Under Discussion model, or QUD. Hence, (...)
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  • Authoritative Knowledge.Juan S. Piñeros Glasscock - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-28.
    This paper investigates ‘authoritative knowledge’, a neglected species of practical knowledge gained on the basis of exercising practical authority. I argue that, like perceptual knowledge, authoritative knowledge is non-inferential. I then present a broadly reliabilist account of the process by which authority yields knowledge, and use this account to address certain objections.
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  • Epistemological Aspects of Hope.Matthew A. Benton - 2019 - In Claudia Blöser & Titus Stahl (eds.), The Moral Psychology of Hope. London: Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 135-151.
    Hope is an attitude with a distinctive epistemological dimension: it is incompatible with knowledge. This chapter examines hope as it relates to knowledge but also to probability and inductive considerations. Such epistemic constraints can make hope either impossible, or, when hope remains possible, they affect how one’s epistemic situation can make hope rational rather than irrational. Such issues are especially relevant to when hopefulness may permissibly figure in practical deliberation over a course of action. So I consider cases of second-order (...)
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  • Surprising Suspensions: The Epistemic Value of Being Ignorant.Christopher Willard-Kyle - 2021 - Dissertation, Rutgers University - New Brunswick
    Knowledge is good, ignorance is bad. So it seems, anyway. But in this dissertation, I argue that some ignorance is epistemically valuable. Sometimes, we should suspend judgment even though by believing we would achieve knowledge. In this apology for ignorance (ignorance, that is, of a certain kind), I defend the following four theses: 1) Sometimes, we should continue inquiry in ignorance, even though we are in a position to know the answer, in order to achieve more than mere knowledge (e.g. (...)
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  • One Kind of Asking.Dennis Whitcomb - 2017 - Philosophical Quarterly 67 (266).
    This paper extends several themes from recent work on norms of assertion. It does as much by applying those themes to the speech act of asking. In particular, it argues for the view that there is a species of asking which is governed by a certain norm, a norm to the effect that one should ask a question only if one doesn’t know its answer.
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  • Certainty and Assertion.Jacques-Henri Vollet - forthcoming - Dialectica.
    It is widely held that assertions are partially governed by an epistemic norm. But what is the epistemic condition set out in the norm? Is it knowledge, truth, belief, or something else? In this paper, I defend a view similar to that of Stanley (2008), according to which the relevant epistemic condition is epistemic certainty, where epistemic certainty (but not knowledge) is context-sensitive. I start by distinguishing epistemic certainty, subjective certainty, and knowledge. Then, I explain why it’s much more plausible (...)
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  • Moore's Paradox and Assertion.Clayton Littlejohn - forthcoming - In Oxford Handbook of Assertion. Oxford University Press.
    If I were to say, “Agnes does not know that it is raining, but it is,” this seems like a perfectly coherent way of describing Agnes’s epistemic position. If I were to add, “And I don’t know if it is, either,” this seems quite strange. In this chapter, we shall look at some statements that seem, in some sense, contradictory, even though it seems that these statements can express propositions that are contingently true or false. Moore thought it was paradoxical (...)
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  • Basic Knowledge First.Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa - 2017 - Episteme 14 (3):343-361.
    An infuential twenty-first century philosophical project posits a central role for knowledge: knowledge is more fundamental than epistemic states like belief and justification. So-called “knowledge first” theorists find support for this thought in identifying central theoretical roles for knowledge. I argue that a similar methodology supports a privileged role for more specific category of basic knowledge. Some of the roles that knowledge first theorists have posited for knowledge generally are better suited for basic knowledge.
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  • Trans*Formative Experiences.Rachel McKinnon - 2015 - Res Philosophica 92 (2):419-440.
    What happens when we consider transformative experiences from the perspective of gender transitions? In this paper I suggest that at least two insights emerge. First, trans* persons’ experiences of gender transitions show some limitations to L.A. Paul’s (forthcoming) decision theoretic account of transformative decisions. This will involve exploring some of the phenomenology of coming to know that one is trans, and in coming to decide to transition. Second, what epistemological effects are there to undergoing a transformative experience? By connecting some (...)
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