Sanford C. Goldberg presents a novel account of the speech act of assertion. He argues that this type of speech act is answerable to an epistemic, context-sensitive norm. On this basis he shows the philosophical importance of assertion for key debates in philosophy of language and mind, epistemology, and ethics.
Surprisingly little has been written about hedged assertion. Linguists often focus on semantic or syntactic theorizing about, for example, grammatical evidentials or epistemic modals, but pay far less attention to what hedging does at the level of action. By contrast, philosophers have focused extensively on normative issues regarding what epistemic position is required for proper assertion, yet they have almost exclusively considered unqualified declaratives. This essay considers the linguistic and normative issues side-by-side. We aim to bring some order (...) and clarity to thinking about hedging, so as to illuminate aspects of interest to both linguists and philosophers. In particular, we consider three broad questions. 1) The structural question: when one hedges, what is the speaker’s commitment weakened from? 2) The functional question: what is the best way to understand how a hedge weakens? And 3) the taxonomic question: are hedged assertions genuine assertions, another speech act, or what? (shrink)
In proxy assertion an individual or group asserts something through a spokesperson. The chapter explains proxy assertion as resting on the assignment of a status role to a person (that of spokesperson) whose utterances acts in virtue of that role have the status function of signaling that the principal is committed in a way analogous to an individual asserting that in his own voice. The chapter briefly explains how status functions and status roles are grounded and then treats, (...) in turn, the case of a spokesperson for an individual and a group and the differences in the significance of what the spokesperson does in each case. Finally, it reviews complications introduced by spokesperson autonomy, where the spokesperson is given leave to represent her principal’s views or positions in her own words and to respond to questions on his behalf. (shrink)
This chapter explores the prospects for justifying the somewhat widespread, somewhat firmly held sense that there is some moral advantage to untruthfully implicating over lying. I call this the "Difference Intuition." I define lying in terms of asserting, but remain open about what precise definition best captures our ordinary notion. I define implicating as one way of meaning something without asserting it. I narrow down the kind of untruthful implicating that should be compared with lying for purposes of evaluating whether (...) there is a moral difference between them. Just as lying requires a robust form of assertion, so the kind of untruthful implicating to be compared with lying requires a robust form of implicating. Next, I set out various ways of sharpening the Difference Intuition and survey a range of approaches to justifying one class of sharpenings. I finish by sketching an approach to justifying an alternative sharpening of the Difference Intuition, which is inspired by John Stuart Mill's discussion of lying. (shrink)
In a series of articles (Pagin, 2004, 2009), Peter Pagin has argued that assertion is not a social speech act, introducing a method (which we baptize ‘the P-test’) designed to refute any account that defines assertion in terms of its social effects. This paper contends that Pagin's method fails to rebut the thesis that assertion is social. We show that the P-test is both unreliable (because it overgenerates counterexamples) and counterproductive (because it ultimately provides evidence in favor (...) of some social accounts). Nonetheless, we contend that assertion is not fully social. We defend an intermediate view according to which assertion is only a partly social speech act: assertions both commit the speaker to a proposition (a social component) and present their propositional content as true (a non-social component). The upshot is that assertion is in some important respect social, although it cannot be defined solely in terms of its social effects. (shrink)
The present paper argues that there is a knowledge norm for conversational implicature: one may conversationally implicate p only if one knows p. Linguistic data about the cancellation behavior of implicatures and the ways they are challenged and criticized by speakers is presented to support the thesis. The knowledge norm for implicature is then used to present a new consideration in favor of the KK thesis. It is argued that if implicature and assertion have knowledge norms, then assertion (...) requires not only knowledge but iterated knowledge: knowing that you know that you know that . . . you know. Such a condition on permissible assertion is argued to be plausible only if the KK thesis is true. (shrink)
[The version of this paper published by Oxford online in 2019 was not copy-edited and has some sense-obscuring typos. I have posted a corrected (but not the final published) version on this site. The version published in print in 2020 has these corrections.] Which is more fundamental, assertion or testimony? Should we understand assertion as basic, treating testimony as what you get when you add an interpersonal addressee? Or should we understand testimony as basic, treating mere assertion (...) -- assertion without testimony -- as what you get when you subtract that interpersonal relation? In this chapter, I’ll argue for the subtractive approach and for the more general thesis that its treatment of the interpersonal element in assertion makes understanding that interpersonal element the key to understanding how assertion expresses belief. My theory of belief-expression in assertion treats it as internalizing the transmission of belief in testimony. How we understand that internalizing move depends on how we conceptualize the interpersonal element in testimony. Since what I’ll call the Command Model does not give us the conceptual resources to make this move, we should adopt an alternative that I’ll call the Custodial Model, on which a testifier aims not to convince her addressee but to reason with him – to give him reasons to believe what she tells him grounded in her trustworthiness in thus attempting to influence him. The subtractive approach to assertion thus rests on a key distinction between the aims of reasoning and persuasion. (shrink)
An assertion is a speech act in which something is claimed to hold, e.g. that there are inﬁnitely many prime numbers, or, with respect to some time t, that there is a traﬃc congestion on Brooklyn Bridge at t, or, of some person x with respect to some time t, that x has a tooth ache at t. The concept of assertion has often occupied a central place in the philosophy of language, since it is often thought that (...) making assertions is the use of language most crucial to linguistic meaning, and since assertions are the natural expressions of cognitive attitudes, and hence of importance for theories of knowledge and belief. (shrink)
In this paper, I provide the framework for an account of group assertion. On my view, there are two kinds of group assertion, coordinated and authority-based, with authority-based group assertion being the core notion. I argue against a deflationary view, according to which a group’s asserting is understood in terms of individual assertions, by showing that a group can assert a proposition even when no individual does. Instead, I argue on behalf of an inflationary view, according to (...) which it is the group itself that asserts, a conclusion supported by the fact that paradigmatic features of assertion apply only at the level of the group. A central virtue of my account is that it appreciates the important relationship that exists between most groups and their spokespersons, as well as the consequences that follow from this relationship. My view, thus, provides the framework for distinguishing when responsibility for an assertion lies at the collective level, and when it should be shouldered by an individual simply speaking for herself. (shrink)
Assertion is widely regarded as an act associated with an epistemic position. To assert is to represent oneself as occupying this position and/or to be required to occupy this position. Within this approach, the most common view is that "assertion is strong": the associated position is knowledge or certainty. But recent challenges to this common view present new data that are argued to be better explained by assertion being weak. Old data widely taken to support assertion (...) being strong have also been challenged. This paper examines such challenges and finds them wanting. Far from diminishing the case for strong assertion, carefully considering new and old data reveals that assertion is as strong as ever. (shrink)
This essay is an opinionated exploration of the constraints that modal discourse imposes on the theory of assertion. Primary focus is on the question whether modal discourse challenges the traditional view that all assertions have propositional content. This question is tackled largely with reference to discourse involving epistemic modals, although connections with other flavors of modality are noted along the way.
I argue that the appropriateness of an assertion is sensitive to context—or, really, the “common ground”—in a way that hasn’t previously been emphasized by philosophers. This kind of context-sensitivity explains why some scientific conclusions seem to be appropriately asserted even though they are not known, believed, or justified on the available evidence. I then consider other recent attempts to account for this phenomenon and argue that if they are to be successful, they need to recognize the kind of context-sensitivity (...) that I argue for. (shrink)
It is disputed what norm, if any, governs assertion. We address this question by looking at assertions of future contingents: statements about the future that are neither metaphysically necessary nor metaphysically impossible. Many philosophers think that future contingents are not truth apt, which together with a Truth Norm or a Knowledge Norm of assertion implies that assertions of these future contingents are systematically infelicitous. In this article, we argue that our practice of asserting future contingents is incompatible with (...) the view that they are not truth apt. We consider a range of norms of assertion and argue that the best explanation of the data is provided by the view that assertion is governed by the Knowledge Norm. (shrink)
Asserting is the act of claiming that something is the case—for instance, that oranges are citruses, or that there is a traffic congestion on Brooklyn Bridge (at some time). We make assertions to share information, coordinate our actions, defend arguments, and communicate our beliefs and desires. Because of its central role in communication, assertion has been investigated in several disciplines. Linguists, philosophers of language, and logicians rely heavily on the notion of assertion in theorizing about meaning, truth and (...) inference. -/- The nature of assertion and its relation to other speech acts and linguistic phenomena (implicatures, presuppositions, etc.) have been subject to much controversy. This entry will situate assertion within speech act theory and pragmatics more generally, and then go on to present the current main accounts of assertion. (shrink)
Jennifer Lackey (2018) has developed an account of the primary form of group assertion, according to which groups assert when a suitably authorized spokesperson speaks for the group. In this paper I pose a challenge for Lackey's account, arguing that her account obscures the phenomenon of group silencing. This is because, in contrast to alternative approaches that view assertions (and speech acts generally) as social acts, Lackey's account implies that speakers can successfully assert regardless of how their utterances are (...) taken up by their audiences. What reflection on group silencing shows us, I argue, is that an adequate account of group assertion needs to find a place for audience uptake. (shrink)
In this paper I urge friends of truth-value gaps and truth-value gluts – proponents of paracomplete and paraconsistent logics – to consider theories not merely as sets of sentences, but as pairs of sets of sentences, or what I call ‘bitheories,’ which keep track not only of what holds according to the theory, but also what fails to hold according to the theory. I explain the connection between bitheories, sequents, and the speech acts of assertion and denial. I illustrate (...) the usefulness of bitheories by showing how they make available a technique for characterising different theories while abstracting away from logical vocabulary such as connectives or quanti- ﬁers, thereby making theoretical commitments independent of the choice of this or that particular non-classical logic. (shrink)
Defenders of pragmatic theories of knowledge (such as contextualism and sensitive invariantism) argue that these theories, unlike those that invoke a single standard for knowledge, comport with the intuitively compelling thesis that knowledge is the norm of assertion and practical reason. In this paper, I dispute this thesis, and argue that, therefore, the prospects for both “high standard” approach, and contend that if one abandons the thesis that knowledge is the norm of assertion and practical reason, the most (...) serious arguments against it lose force. (shrink)
How should we undertand the role of norms—especially epistemic norms—governing assertive speech acts? Mitchell Green (2009) has argued that these norms play the role of handicaps in the technical sense from the animal signals literature. As handicaps, they then play a large role in explaining the reliability—and so the stability (the continued prevalence)—of assertive speech acts. But though norms of assertion conceived of as social norms do indeed play this stabilizing role, these norms are best understood as deterrents and (...) not as handicaps. This paper explains the stability problem for the maintenance of animal signals, and so human communication, for we are animals too, after all; the mechanics of the handicap principle; the role of deterrents and punishments as an alternative mechanism; and the role of social norms governing assertion for the case of human communication. (shrink)
John N. Williams (1994) and Matthew Weiner (2005) invoke predictions in order to undermine the normative relevance of knowledge for assertions; in particular, Weiner argues, predictions are important counterexamples to the Knowledge Account of Assertion (KAA). I argue here that they are not true counterexamples at all, a point that can be agreed upon even by those who reject KAA.
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? (shrink)
We present an inferentialist account of the epistemic modal operator might. Our starting point is the bilateralist programme. A bilateralist explains the operator not in terms of the speech act of rejection ; we explain the operator might in terms of weak assertion, a speech act whose existence we argue for on the basis of linguistic evidence. We show that our account of might provides a solution to certain well-known puzzles about the semantics of modal vocabulary whilst retaining classical (...) logic. This demonstrates that an inferentialist approach to meaning can be successfully extended beyond the core logical constants. (shrink)
Recent work has argued that belief is weak: the level of rational credence required for belief is relatively low. That literature has contrasted belief with assertion, arguing that the latter requires an epistemic state much stronger than (weak) belief—perhaps knowledge or even certainty. We argue that this is wrong: assertion is just as weak as belief. We first present a variety of new arguments for this claim, and then show that the standard arguments for stronger norms are not (...) convincing. Finally, we sketch an alternative picture on which the fundamental norm of assertion is to say what you believe, but both belief and assertion are weak. To help make sense of this, we propose that both belief and assertion involve navigating a tradeoff between accuracy and informativity: it can makes sense to believe or say something you only have weak evidence for, so long as it’s sufficiently informative. (shrink)
Following the speech act theory, we take hypotheses and assertions as linguistic acts with different illocutionary forces. We assume that a hypothesis is justified if there is at least a scintilla of evidence for the truth of its propositional content, while an assertion is justified when there is conclusive evidence that its propositional content is true. Here we extend the logical treatment for assertions given by Dalla Pozza and Garola (1995, Erkenntnis, 43, 81–109) by outlining a pragmatic logic for (...) assertions and hypotheses. On the basis of this extension we analyse the standard logical opposition relations for assertions and hypotheses. We formulate a pragmatic square of oppositions for assertions and a hexagon of oppositions for hypotheses. Finally, we give a mixed hexagon of oppositions to point out the opposition relations for assertions and hypotheses. (shrink)
The view defended in this paper - I call it the No-Assertion view - rejects the assumption that it is theoretically useful to single out a subset of sayings as assertions: (v) Sayings are governed by variable norms, come with variable commitments and have variable causes and effects. What philosophers have tried to capture by the term 'assertion' is largely a philosophers' invention. It fails to pick out an act-type that we engage in and it is not a (...) category we need in order to explain any significant component of our linguistic practice. Timothy Williamson (2000) defends a theory of type (i). He says that a theory of assertion has as its goal "[…] that of articulating for the first time the rules of a traditional game that we play" (p. 240). Among those who think we play the game of assertion, there's disagreement about what the rules are. Some think it's a single rule and disagree about what that rule is. Others think the rules change across contexts. According to the No-Assertion view we don’t play the assertion game. The game might exist as an abstract object, but it is not a game you need to learn and play to become a speaker of a natural language. (shrink)
According to Jonathan Kvanvig, the practice of taking back one’s assertion when finding out that one has been mistaken or gettiered fails to speak in favour of a knowledge norm of assertion. To support this claim, he introduces a distinction between taking back the content of the assertion, and taking back the speech act itself. This paper argues that Kvanvig’s distinction does not successfully face close speech-act-theoretic scrutiny. Furthermore, I offer an alternative diagnosis of the target cases (...) sourced in the normativity of action. (shrink)
Some speech acts are made indirectly. It is thus natural to think that assertions could also be made indirectly. Grice’s conversational implicatures appear to be just a case of this, in which one indirectly makes an assertion or a related constative act by means of a declarative sentence. Several arguments, however, have been given against indirect assertions, by Davis (1999), Fricker (2012), Green (2007, 2015), Lepore & Stone (2010, 2015) and others. This paper confronts and rejects three considerations that (...) have been made: arguments based on the distinction between lying and misleading; arguments based on the ordinary concept of assertion; and arguments based on the testimonial knowledge that assertions provide. (shrink)
This paper uses the knowledge account of assertion (KAA) in defense of epistemological contextualism. Part 1 explores the main problem afflicting contextualism, what I call the "Generality Objection." Part 2 presents and defends both KAA and a powerful new positive argument that it provides for contextualism. Part 3 uses KAA to answer the Generality Objection, and also casts other shadows over the prospects for anti-contextualism.
The author discusses the claim that owing to the lack of reference to ordinary experience by which religious assertions could be tested, there is nothing in the mind of the person who makes such religious assertions which could conceivably be objectively true. the author maintains that such a view of religious assertions is groundless, and that, if true, it would leave little of value in religion. (staff).
It is widely believed that the so-called knowledge account of assertion best explains why sentences such as “It’s raining in Paris but I don’t believe it” and “It’s raining in Paris but I don’t know it” appear odd to us. I argue that the rival rational credibility account of assertion explains that fact just as well. I do so by providing a broadly Bayesian analysis of the said type of sentences which shows that such sentences cannot express rationally (...) held beliefs. As an interesting aside, it will be seen that these sentences also harbor a lesson for Bayesian epistemology itself. (shrink)
This paper argues for a treatment of belief as essentially sensitive to certain features of context. The first part gives an argument that we must take belief to be context-sensitive in the same way that assertion is, if we are to preserve appealing principles tying belief to sincere assertion. In particular, whether an agent counts as believing that p in a context depends on the space of alternative possibilities the agent is considering in that context. One and the (...) same doxastic state may amount to belief that p in one context but not another. The second part of the paper gives a formal treatment of doxastic states, according to which belief is context-sensitive along just these lines. The model is applied to characterize (but not to refute) skeptical arguments. (shrink)
In recent work, Williamson has defended a suggestive account of assertion. Williamson claims that the following norm or rule (the knowledge rule) is constitutive of assertion, and individuates it: (KR) One must ((assert p) only if one knows p) Williamson is not directly concerned with the semantics of assertion-markers, although he assumes that his view has implications for such an undertaking; he says: “in natural languages, the default use of declarative sentences is to make assertions” (op. cit., (...) 258). In this paper I will explore Williamson’s view from this perspective, i.e., in the light of issues regarding the semantics of assertion-markers. I will end up propounding a slightly different account, on which, rather than KR, what is constitutive and individuating of assertion is an audience-involving transmission of knowledge rule: (TKR) One must ((assert p) only if one’s audience comes thereby to be in a position to know p) I will argue that TKR, of which KR is an illocutionary consequence (but not the other way around), has all the virtues that Williamson claims for his account and no new defect. (shrink)
The Tractatus rejects the sign of assertion as "logically meaningless", but the rejection of the sign did not lead Wittgenstein to reject the corresponding notion. I show the presence and the importance in the early Wittgenstein of a notion keenly similar to Fregean and Russellian logical assertion. I propose to call this notion "affirmation." The preparatory writings and the TLP present different theories about affirmation. The correct understanding of the nature and purpose of affirmation proves critical in order (...) to confront another issue about the Tractatus: the only partial similarity between the theory of pictures and the theory of propositions. (shrink)
I suggest a way of extending Stalnaker’s account of assertion to allow for centered content. In formulating his account, Stalnaker takes the content of assertion to be uncentered propositions: entities that are evaluated for truth at a possible world. I argue that the content of assertion is sometimes centered: the content is evaluated for truth at something within a possible world. I consider Andy Egan’s proposal for extending Stalnaker’s account to allow for assertions with centered content. I (...) argue that Egan’s account does not succeed. Instead, I propose an account on which the contents of assertion are identified with sets of multi-centered worlds. I argue that such a view not only provides a plausible account of how assertions can have centered content, but also preserves Stalnaker’s original insight that successful assertion involves the reduction of shared possibilities. (shrink)
This paper begins by exploring a subspecies of assertion. Under some circumstances an utterance intuitively counts as an assertion, even though it is Cynical: that is, it is insincere, and made without the reasonable expectation of even appearing sincere to its audience. The paper explores the contextual and cognitive workings of Cynical assertion – directly, in part, but also by comparison with superficially similar but non-assertoric utterances, namely, those made under duress. Finally, the paper examines the broader (...) relevance of Cynical assertion, by considering two philosophical applications of the notion: first, in support of Michael Dummett’s conventionalist account of assertion; and second, in illuminating an aspect of Moore’s paradox. (shrink)
It is increasingly recognized that knowledge is the norm of assertion. As this view has gained popularity, it has also garnered criticism. One widely discussed criticism involves thought experiments about “selfless assertion.” Selfless assertions are said to be intuitively compelling examples where agents should assert propositions that they don’t even believe and, hence, don’t know. This result is then taken to show that knowledge is not the norm of assertion. This paper reports four experiments demonstrating that “selfless (...) assertors” are viewed as both believing and knowing the propositions they assert: this is the natural and intuitive way of interpreting the case. Thought experiments about selfless assertions do not threaten the knowledge account and they do not motivate weaker alternative accounts. The discussion also highlights a general lesson for philosophers: thought experiments intended to probe for mental state attributions should not conflict with basic principles that guide social cognition. (shrink)
Pascal Engel (2008) has insisted that a number of notable strategies for rejecting the knowledge norm of assertion are put forward on the basis of the wrong kinds of reasons. A central aim of this paper will be to establish the contrast point: I argue that one very familiar strategy for defending the knowledge norm of assertion—viz., that it is claimed to do better in various respects than its competitors (e.g. the justification and the truth norms)— relies on (...) a presupposition that is shown to be ultimately under motivated. That presupposition is the uniqueness thesis—that there is a unique epistemic rule for assertion, and that such a rule will govern assertions uniformly. In particular, the strategy I shall take here will be to challenge the sufficiency leg of the knowledge norm in a way that at the same time counts against Williamson’s (2000) own rationale for the uniqueness thesis. However, rather than to challenge the sufficiency leg of the knowledge norm via the familiar style of ‘expert opinion’ and, more generally, ‘second-hand knowledge’ cases (e.g. Lackey (2008)), a strategy that has recently been called into question by Benton (2014), I’ll instead advance a very different line of argument against the sufficiency thesis, one which turns on a phenomenon I call epistemic hypocrisy. (shrink)
The oddities in lottery cases and Moore’s paradox appear to support the knowledge account of assertion, according to which one should assert only what one knows. This paper preserves an emphasis on epistemic norms but presents grounds for an alternative explanation. The alternative divides the explanandum, explaining the error in lottery and Moorean assertions with one move and their deeper incoherence with another. The error derives from a respect in which the assertions are uninformative: the speaker is not being (...) appropriately responsive to her addressee’s epistemic needs. And the incoherence derives from a deeper respect in which lottery and some (but not all) Moorean assertions are uninformative: it is difficult to see how the speaker’s assertion could express any judgment she has made or would relevantly make, since she transparently lacks epistemic authority to inform any conceivable interlocutor on the subject. This diagnosis suggests an epistemic approach not directly to assertion but to judgment. Without judging that p, how could a speaker be in the business of informing her addressee that p? If the speaker transparently lacks authority to inform anyone whether p – to give anyone her word that p – how could she without confusion count as judging that p? (shrink)
This book develops in detail the simple idea that assertion is the expression of belief. In it the author puts forward a version of 'probabilistic semantics' which acknowledges that we are not perfectly rational, and which offers a significant advance in generality on theories of meaning couched in terms of truth conditions. It promises to challenge a number of entrenched and widespread views about the relations of language and mind. Part I presents a functionalist account of belief, worked through (...) a modified form of decision theory. In Part II the author generates a theory of meaning in terms of 'assertibility conditions', whereby to know the meaning of an assertion is to know the belief it expresses. (shrink)
We argue against the knowledge rule of assertion, and in favour of integrating the account of assertion more tightly with our best theories of evidence and action. We think that the knowledge rule has an incredible consequence when it comes to practical deliberation, that it can be right for a person to do something that she can't properly assert she can do. We develop some vignettes that show how this is possible, and how odd this consequence is. We (...) then argue that these vignettes point towards alternate rules that tie assertion to sufficient evidence-responsiveness or to proper action. These rules have many of the virtues that are commonly claimed for the knowledge rule, but lack the knowledge rule's problematic consequences when it comes to assertions about what to do. (shrink)
I argue here for a view I call epistemic separabilism , which states that there are two different ways we can be evaluated epistemically when we assert a proposition or treat a proposition as a reason for acting: one in terms of whether we have adhered to or violated the relevant epistemic norm, and another in terms of how epistemically well-positioned we are towards the fact that we have either adhered to or violated said norm. ES has been appealed to (...) most prominently in order to explain why epistemic evaluations that conflict with the knowledge norm of assertion and practical reasoning nevertheless seem correct. Opponents of such a view are committed to what I call epistemic monism , which states that there is only one way we can be properly evaluated as epistemically appropriate asserters and practical reasoners, namely in terms of whether we have adhered to or violated the relevant norm. Accepting ES over EM has two significant consequences: first, a “metaepistemological” consequence that the structure of normative epistemic evaluations parallels that found in other normative areas , and second, that the knowledge norms of assertion and practical reasoning are no worse off than any alternatives in terms of either explanatory power or simplicity. (shrink)
Recent literature features an increased interest in the sufficiency claim involved in the knowledge norm of assertion. This paper looks at two prominent objections to KNA-Suff, due to Jessica Brown and Jennifer Lackey, and argues that they miss their target due to value-theoretic inaccuracies. It is argued that the intuitive need for more than knowledge in Brown’s high-stakes contexts does not come from the epistemic norm governing assertion, but from further norms stepping in and raising the bar, and (...) Lackey’s purported quality-driven case against KNA-Suff boils down to a quantitative objection. If that is the case, Lackey’s argument will be vulnerable to the same objections as Brown’s. (shrink)
Skeptical invariantism does not account for the intuitive connections between knowledge, assertion, and practical reasoning and this constitutes a significant problem for the position because it does not save corresponding epistemic appearances ). Moreover, it is an attraction of fallibilist over infallibilist-skeptical views that they can easily account for the epistemic appearances about the connections between knowledge, assertion, and practical reasoning ). Call this argument ‘the argument from the knowledge norm’. I motivate and develop a Humean, pragmatist strategy (...) for a skeptical response to ‘the argument from the knowledge norm’. Afterwards I outline a ‘toy’ version of pragmatic skepticism that can implement the strategy and save our everyday practice of assertion and practical reasoning. To this effect, I distinguish between assertibility conditions and truth conditions for ‘know’ and suggest that while assertibility conditions are pragmatic conditions sensitive to practical exigencies, truth conditions are semantic conditions sensitive only to truth. I briefly respond to three objections and conclude that pragmatic skepticism is resourceful enough to save our everyday practice of assertion and practical reasoning and, hence, pay some due respect to corresponding epistemic appearances. (shrink)
This paper brings together two positions that for the most part have been developed and defended independently of one another: contextualism about knowledge attributions and the knowledge account of assertion.
This paper offers a brief survey of the philosophical literature on assertion, presenting each contribution to the RIFL special issue "Assertion and its social significance" within the context of the contemporary debate in which it intervenes. The discussion is organised into three thematic sections. The first one concerns the nature of assertion and its relation with assertoric commitment – the distinctive responsibility that the speaker undertakes in virtue of making a statement. The second section considers the epistemic (...) significance of assertion, exploring the role that assertion plays in the transmission of knowledge, the epistemic constraints that regulate it, and its relation with truth. The third section deals with communicative content that goes beyond what is literally asserted: implicatures, metaphors and expressive meaning. (shrink)