Journal of Semantics 8 (4):311-331 (1991)

Speech act theory recognizes several illocutionary acts which make the assertive point. This paper proposes a new member of this group, quasi-assertion. Epistemic modal sentences are examples. The force of quasi-assertion differs from full assertion with respect to the felicity conditions on these illocutionary acts. The propositional content condition on assertion is empty, but the propositional content condition on quasi-assertion is that the propositional content P represent a state of affairs in the actual world at utterance time. The preparatory condition on quasi-assertion only requires that the speaker have grounds for the truth of P, but the preparatory condition on P quasi-assertion only requires that the speaker infers or deduces P. The sincerity condition on assertion requires that the speaker believes that P, but the sincerity condition on quasi-assertion allows that the speaker's commitment to the truth of P is less than for full assertion. Under the hypothesis of constructability (Searle & Vanderveken 1985), we show how quasi-assertion can be constructed out of assertion by the operations [σ], [Θ] and [−]. Finally, truth conditions are given for quasi-assertion
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DOI 10.1093/jos/8.4.311
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