Norsk Filosofisk Tidsskrift 46 (1):49-58 (2011)

Steffen Borge
Nord University
In this paper I address the topics of the pragmatics of rumours and gossip, on the one hand, and the question of unwarranted questions, on the other. I briefly introduce the case of Bill Clinton who got asked by the press about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky, before I turn to an analysis of rumours and gossip. Sometimes lack of openness gives rise to rumours and gossip, while other times it is enough that something is mentioned for it to give rise to rumours and gossip. In the last part of the paper I show that the press’s questions about Monica Lewinsky were unwarranted, unwarranted questions understood as questions about topics you are not in a position to inquire about. I argue that since merely mentioning something can give rise to rumours and gossip, for example by asking a unwarranted question, and the questions about Lewinsky were unwarranted, it would have been permissible for Clinton to lie to the press regarding his affair with Monica Lewinsky.
Keywords Rumours   gossip   speech acts   unwarranted questions
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DOI 10.18261/issn1504-2901-2011-01-05
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