What Is Assertion

In Jessica Brown & Herman Cappelen (eds.), Assertion. Oxford University Press (2011)
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Abstract

To assert something is to perform a certain kind of act. This act is different in kind both from other speech acts, like questions, requests, commands, promises, and apologies, and from acts that are not speech acts, like toast buttering and inarticulate yodeling. My question, then is this: what features of an act qualify it as an assertion, and not one of these other kinds of act? To focus on a particular example: in uttering “Bill will close the window,” one might be practicing English pronunciation, asserting that Bill will close the window, or requesting that Bill close the window. What makes it the case that one is doing one of these and not another?

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John MacFarlane
University of California, Berkeley

Citations of this work

Degrees of Assertability.Sam Carter - 2022 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 104 (1):19-49.
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.
Endorsement and assertion.Will Fleisher - 2021 - Noûs 55 (2):363-384.
Lying with Presuppositions.Emanuel Viebahn - 2020 - Noûs 54 (3):731-751.

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References found in this work

Scorekeeping in a language game.David Lewis - 1979 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 8 (1):339--359.
Knowing and asserting.Timothy Williamson - 1996 - Philosophical Review 105 (4):489.
Future contingents and relative truth.John MacFarlane - 2003 - Philosophical Quarterly 53 (212):321–336.
Syntax and semantics of questions.Lauri Karttunen - 1977 - Linguistics and Philosophy 1 (1):3--44.
Must we know what we say?Matthew Weiner - 2005 - Philosophical Review 114 (2):227-251.

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