Can the Knowledge Norm Co‐Opt the Opt Out?

Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 3 (4):273-282 (2014)
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Abstract

The Knowledge Norm of Assertion claims that it is proper to assert that p only if one knows that p. Though supported by a wide range of evidence, it appears to generate incorrect verdicts when applied to utterances of “I don't know.” Instead of being an objection to KNA, I argue that this linguistic data shows that “I don't know” does not standardly function as a literal assertion about one's epistemic status; rather, it is an indirect speech act that has the primary illocutionary force of opting out of the speaker's conversational responsibilities. This explanation both reveals that the opt-out is an under-appreciated type of illocutionary act with a wide range of applications, and shows that the initial data in fact supports KNA over its rivals

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Author's Profile

Kevin Dorst
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Citations of this work

Good Guesses.Kevin Dorst & Matthew Mandelkern - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
Innocent implicatures.Alexander Dinges - 2015 - Journal of Pragmatics 87:54-63.

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References found in this work

Knowledge and its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - Oxford University Press.
Speech Acts: An Essay in the Philosophy of Language.John Rogers Searle - 1969 - Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.
Knowledge and Its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - Philosophy 76 (297):460-464.
Knowledge and its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 64 (1):200-201.
Logic and Conversation.H. P. Grice - 1975 - In Donald Davidson & Gilbert Harman (eds.), The Logic of Grammar. Encino, CA: pp. 64-75.

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