You don't say! Lying, asserting and insincerity

Dissertation, University of Sheffield (2017)

Authors
Neri Marsili
University of Barcelona
Abstract
This thesis addresses philosophical problems concerning improper assertions. The first part considers the issue of defining lying: here, against a standard view, I argue that a lie need not intend to deceive the hearer. I define lying as an insincere assertion, and then resort to speech act theory to develop a detailed account of what an assertion is, and what can make it insincere. Even a sincere assertion, however, can be improper (e.g., it can be false, or unwarranted): in the second part of the thesis, I consider these kinds of impropriety. An influential hypothesis maintains that proper assertions must meet a precise epistemic standard, and several philosophers have tried to identify this standard. After reviewing some difficulties for this approach, I provide an innovative solution to some known puzzles concerning the permissibility of false assertions. In my view, assertions purport to aim at truth, but they are not subject to a norm that requires speakers to assert a proposition only if it is true.
Keywords Assertion  Insincerity  Speech act theory  Definition of Lying  Testimony  Intentions  Epistemology  Degrees of Belief  Epistemic Modals  Promising
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Studies in the Way of Words.H. Paul Grice - 1989 - Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Epistemic Modals.Seth Yalcin - 2007 - Mind 116 (464):983-1026.

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