Assertion

Edited by Ofra Magidor (University of Oxford)
About this topic
Summary

Assertion is a kind of speech act which plays a central role in both philosophy of language and epistemology. The main philosophical issues concerning assertion include: How to characterize which utterances of (declarative) sentences count as assertions? What, if any, are the norms governing assertion?  What effects do assertions have on the dynamics of conversation? What is the connection between assertion and the semantic content, meaning, or truth of sentences? What is the connection between what one asserts and what one believes or knows? How can we separate between what is asserted by an utterance and what is conveyed by it in more indirect means – such as presupposition or implicature? Are utterances of conditional sentences a kind of assertion, or a different type of speech act (a conditional assertion)?

These questions help to see why assertion plays such a central role in philosophy: for example, assertion plays a central role in the philosophy of language for anyone who thinks that there is a close connection between what is asserted by an utterance and what its semantic content or meaning is, and plays a central role in epistemology for anyone who thinks that assertions are governed by a norm involving knowledge or belief (e.g. assert only what you know or only what you believe). 

Key works

The classic text on speech acts in general is Austin 1962. For a central discussion on the norms of assertion, and a defence of the knowledge norm of assertion see Williamson 2000. The classic text on the distinction between assertion and presupposition is Strawson 1950, and between assertion and implicature Grice 1967Stalnaker 1978 is the key work on the effects that assertion has on the dynamics of conversation, and how assertion, context, and semantic content interact with each other. For a defence of the claim that utterances of conditionals are not assertions, but rather involve a special kind of speech act see Edgington 1995.

Introductions For general introductions see Pagin 2015 and also the introduction in Brown & Cappelen 2011. For an introduction on the issue of norms of assertion in particular see Weiner 2007.
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  1. How to Express Implicit Attitudes.Elmar Unnsteinsson - 2024 - Philosophical Quarterly 74 (1):251-272.
    I argue that what speakers mean or express can be determined by their implicit or unconscious states, rather than explicit or conscious states. Further, on this basis, I show that the sincerity conditions for utterances can also be fixed by implicit states. This is a surprising result which goes against common assumptions about speech acts and sincerity. Roughly, I argue that the result is implied by two plausible and independent theories of the metaphysics of speaker meaning and, further, that this (...)
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  2. Non-Factualist Interpretation of the Skeptical Solution and the Self-Refutation Argument.Michał Wieczorkowski - forthcoming - Acta Analytica:1-17.
    The skeptical solution is based on two assumptions — the rejection of semantic facts and the denial of semantic nihilism. On the basis of the non-factualist interpretation of this solution, these two assumptions are reconciled by stating that meaning ascriptions possess non-descriptive function. Nonetheless, Alexander Miller argues that this position is self-refuting since, as despite its non-descriptivism, by rejecting any kind of semantic facts, it inevitably leads to semantic nihilism. In this text, I demonstrate that Miller’s argument is not sound. (...)
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  3. What does it take to tell a lie?Emanuel Viebahn - forthcoming - In Alex Wiegmann (ed.), Lying, Fake News, and Bullshit. London: Bloomsbury. pp. 1-24.
    Lying requires asserting a disbelieved proposition, that much is widely accepted in the debate on how to define lying. But what else is required? Does lying require a particular linguistic manner of expression, such as saying? Does the proposition asserted have to be false (and not merely disbelieved)? And does lying require an intention to deceive? The aim of this chapter is to provide an opinionated introduction to the debates on these questions that takes into account both theoretical considerations and (...)
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  4. Meaning and responsibility.Ray Buchanan & Henry Ian Schiller - 2023 - Mind and Language 38 (3):809-827.
    In performing an act of assertion we are sometimes responsible for more than the content of the literal meaning of the words we have used, sometimes less. A recently popular research program seeks to explain certain of the commitments we make in speech in terms of responsiveness to the conversational subject matter. We raise some issues for this view with the aim of providing a more general account of linguistic commitment: one that is grounded in a more general action‐theoretic notion (...)
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  5. Bipartite assertion: A new account of assertion, defined in terms of responsibility and explicit presentation.Matthew J. Cull - 2016 - Dissertation, Queen's University Canada
    Assertion is a speech act that stands at the intersection of the philosophy of language and social epistemology. It is a phenomenon that bears on such wide-ranging topics as testimony, truth, meaning, knowledge and trust. It is thus no surprise that analytic philosophers have devoted innumerable pages to assertion, trying to give the norms that govern it, its role in the transmission of knowledge, and most importantly, what assertion is, or how assertion is to be defined. -/- In this thesis (...)
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  6. Just saying, just kidding : liability for accountability-avoiding speech in ordinary conversation, politics and law.Elisabeth Camp - 2022 - In Laurence R. Horn (ed.), From lying to perjury: linguistic and legal perspective on lies and other falsehoods. De Gruyter Mouton. pp. 227-258.
    Mobsters and others engaged in risky forms of social coordination and coercion often communicate by saying something that is overtly innocuous but transmits another message ‘off record’. In both ordinary conversation and political discourse, insinuation and other forms of indirection, like joking, offer significant protection from liability. However, they do not confer blanket immunity: speakers can be held to account for an ‘off record’ message, if the only reasonable interpreta- tions of their utterance involve a commitment to it. Legal liability (...)
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  7. The Hindi-Urdu NA and reasonable inference.Ahmad Jabbar - forthcoming - In Proceedings of the 59th annual meeting of the Chicago Linguistic Society (CLS 59).
    This paper presents a study into the Hindi-Urdu 'na' as a sentence-final particle. Although also used as a topic marker and negation, 'na' occurs sentence-finally across clause-types. In light of the data, we think the following hypothesis offers the best fit: 'na' signals the speaker’s belief that the content of na’s containing clause is a reasonable inference, given what’s common ground. Notably, in addition to other clause-types, we explore na's distribution in exclamations and exclamatives. We link our work to recent (...)
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  8. Lying with Uninformative Speech Acts.Grzegorz Gaszczyk - 2022 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 52 (7):746-760.
    I propose an analysis of lying with uninformative speech acts. The orthodox view states that lying is restricted to assertions. However, the growing case for non-assertoric lies made by presuppositions or conventional implicatures challenges this orthodoxy. So far, the only presuppositions to have been considered as lies were informative presuppositions. In fact, uninformative lies were not discussed in the philosophical literature. However, limiting the possibility of lying to informative speech acts is too restrictive. Firstly, I show that standard, uninformative presuppositions (...)
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  9. Supposition: A Problem for Bilateralism.Nils Kürbis - 2023 - Bulletin of the Section of Logic 53 (3):301-327.
    In bilateral logic formulas are signed by + and –, indicating the speech acts assertion and denial. I argue that making an assumption is also speech act. Speech acts cannot be embedded within other speech acts. Hence we cannot make sense of the notion of making an assumption in bilateral logic. Attempts to solve this problem are considered and rejected.
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  10. Truth and directness in pictorial assertion.Lukas Lewerentz & Emanuel Viebahn - 2023 - Linguistics and Philosophy 46 (6):1441–1465.
    This paper develops an account of accuracy and truth in pictorial assertion. It argues that there are two ways in which pictorial assertions can be indirect: with respect to their content and with respect to their target. This twofold indirectness explains how accurate, unedited pictures can be used to make false pictorial assertions. It captures the fishiness of true pictorial assertions involving target-indirectness, such as true pictorial assertions involving outdated pictures. And it raises the question whether target-indirectness may also arise (...)
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  11. Do Not Diagonalize.Cameron Kirk-Giannini - forthcoming - In Ernie Lepore & Una Stojnic (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Contemporary Philosophy of Language. Oxford University Press.
    Speakers assert in order to communicate information. It is natural, therefore, to hold that the content of an assertion is whatever information it communicates to its audience. In cases involving uncertainty about the semantic values of context-sensitive lexical items, moreover, it is natural to hold that the information an assertion communicates to its audience is whatever information audience members are in a position to recover from it by assuming that the proposition it semantically determines is true. This sort of picture (...)
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  12. Group Assertions and Group Lies.Neri Marsili - 2023 - Topoi 42 (2):369-384.
    Groups, like individuals, can communicate. They can issue statements, make promises, give advice. Sometimes, in doing so, they lie and deceive. The goal of this paper is to offer a precise characterisation of what it means for a group to make an assertion and to lie. I begin by showing that Lackey’s influential account of group assertion is unable to distinguish assertions from other speech acts, explicit statements from implicatures, and lying from misleading. I propose an alternative view, according to (...)
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  13. Lies, Common Ground and Performative Utterances.Neri Marsili - 2021 - Erkenntnis 88 (2):567-578.
    In a recent book (_Lying and insincerity_, Oxford University Press, 2018), Andreas Stokke argues that one lies iff one says something one believes to be false, thereby proposing that it becomes common ground. This paper shows that Stokke’s proposal is unable to draw the right distinctions about insincere performative utterances. The objection also has repercussions on theories of assertion, because it poses a novel challenge to any attempt to define assertion as a proposal to update the common ground.
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  14. AI Assertion.Patrick Butlin & Emanuel Viebahn - manuscript
    Modern AI systems have shown the capacity to produce remarkably fluent language, prompting debates both about their semantic understanding and, less prominently, about whether they can perform speech acts. This paper addresses the latter question, focusing on assertion. We argue that to be capable of assertion, an entity must meet two requirements: it must produce outputs with descriptive functions, and it must be capable of being sanctioned by agents with which it interacts. The second requirement arises from the nature of (...)
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  15. An empirical perspective on pictorial lies.Emanuel Viebahn & Alex Wiegmann - manuscript
    Theorists in the debate on how to define lying disagree whether it is possible to lie with pictures. At the same time, they agree that definitions of lying should be consistent with how laypersons use the term ‘lie’. This calls for an empirical perspective on whether ordinary usage allows for pictorial lies. The present paper provides some initial data on this question by reporting an experiment with 623 participants investigating layperson judgements about cases of insincere linguistic and pictorial communication. The (...)
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  16. Truth and Imprecision.Josh Armstrong - forthcoming - Analytic Philosophy.
    Our ordinary assertions are often imprecise, insofar as the way we represent things as being only approximates how things are in the actual world. The phenomenon of assertoric imprecision raises a challenge to standard accounts of both the norm of assertion and the connection between semantics and the objects of assertion. After clarifying these problems in detail, I develop a framework for resolving them. Specifically, I argue that the phenomenon of assertoric imprecision motivates a rejection of the widely held belief (...)
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  17. Directing Thought.Henry Ian Schiller - forthcoming - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy.
    I argue that directing is a more fundamental kind of speech act than asserting, in the sense that the conditions under which an act counts as an assertion are sufficient for that act to count as a directive. I show how this follows from a particular way of conceiving intentionalism about speech acts, on which acts of assertion are attempts at changing a common body of information – or conversational common ground – maintained by conversational participants’ practical attitude of acceptance. (...)
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  18. Contextology.Simon Goldstein & Cameron Domenico Kirk-Giannini - 2022 - Philosophical Studies 179 (11):3187-3209.
    Contextology is the science of the dynamics of the conversational context. Contextology formulates laws governing how the shared information states of interlocutors evolve in response to assertion. More precisely, the contextologist attempts to construct a function which, when provided with just a conversation’s pre-update context and the content of an assertion, delivers that conversation’s post-update context. Most contextologists have assumed that the function governing the evolution of the context is simple: the post-update context is just the pre-update context intersected with (...)
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  19. Stupefying.Michael Deigan - 2022 - Philosophers' Imprint 22 (1).
    Assertions are often accepted without being understood, a phenomenon I call stupefying. I argue that stupefying can be a means for conversational manipulation that works through at-issue content, in contrast with the not-at-issue and back-door speech act routes identified by others. This shows that we should reject a widely assumed connection between attention and at-issue content. In exploring why stupefying happens, it also emerges that stupefying has important cooperative uses, in addition to its manipulative ones, and so should not be (...)
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  20. On the Connection between Lying, Asserting, and Intending to Cause Beliefs.Vladimir Krstic - 2022 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    According to one influential argument put forward by, e.g. Chisholm and Feehan, Pfister, Meibauer, Dynel, Keiser, and Harris, asserting requires intending to give your hearer a reason to believe what you say (first premise) and, because liars must assert what they believe is false (second premise), liars necessarily intend to cause their hearer to believe as true what the liars believe is false (conclusion). According to this argument, that is, all genuine lies are intended to deceive. ‘Lies’ not intended to (...)
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  21. Fictions that Purport to Tell the Truth.Neri Marsili - 2022 - Philosophical Quarterly 73 (2):509-531.
    Can fictions make genuine assertions about the actual world? Proponents of the ‘Assertion View’ answer the question affirmatively: they hold that authors can assert, by means of explicit statements that are part of the work of fiction, that something is actually the case in the real world. The ‘Nonassertion’ View firmly denies this possibility. In this paper, I defend a nuanced version of the Nonassertion View. I argue that even if fictions cannot assert, they can indirectly communicate that what is (...)
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  22. Lying, Tell-Tale Signs, and Intending to Deceive.Vladimir Krstic - forthcoming - Dialectica:1-27.
    Arguably, the existence of bald-faced (i.e. knowingly undisguised) lies entails that not all lies are intended to deceive. Two kinds of bald-faced lies exist in the literature: those based on some common knowledge that implies that you are lying and those that involve tell-tale signs (e.g. blushing) that show that you are lying. I designed the tell-tale sign bald-faced lies to avoid objections raised against the common knowledge bald-faced lies but I now see that they are more problematic than what (...)
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  23. Bilateral Inversion Principles.Nils Kürbis - 2022 - Electronic Proceedings in Theoretical Computer Science 358:202–215.
    This paper formulates a bilateral account of harmony that is an alternative to one proposed by Francez. It builds on an account of harmony for unilateral logic proposed by Kürbis and the observation that reading the rules for the connectives of bilateral logic bottom up gives the grounds and consequences of formulas with the opposite speech act. I formulate a process I call 'inversion' which allows the determination of assertive elimination rules from assertive introduction rules, and rejective elimination rules from (...)
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  24. Fragile Knowledge.Simon Goldstein - 2022 - Mind 131 (522):487-515.
    This paper explores the principle that knowledge is fragile, in that whenever S knows that S doesn’t know that S knows that p, S thereby fails to know p. Fragility is motivated by the infelicity of dubious assertions, utterances which assert p while acknowledging higher-order ignorance whether p. Fragility is interestingly weaker than KK, the principle that if S knows p, then S knows that S knows p. Existing theories of knowledge which deny KK by accepting a Margin for Error (...)
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  25. Global expressivism as global subjectivism.Lionel Shapiro - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 179 (3):777-799.
    Huw Price holds that a recognizable version of expressivism about normative and modal language can be “globalized” so as to apply to all areas of discourse. He focuses on globalizing the anti-representationalism of expressivist theories. By contrast, this paper’s topic is the seldom-discussed way Price seeks to globalize the expressivist view that “non-descriptive” discourse exhibits subjectivity. I argue that Price’s own argument against the possibility of a purely objective domain conflicts with his anti-representationalism and is self-undermining. I then defend a (...)
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  26. Hedged testimony.Peter van Elswyk - 2023 - Noûs 57 (2):341-369.
    Speakers offer testimony. They also hedge. This essay offers an account of how hedging makes a difference to testimony. Two components of testimony are considered: how testimony warrants a hearer's attitude, and how testimony changes a speaker's responsibilities. Starting with a norm-based approach to testimony where hearer's beliefs are prima facie warranted because of social norms and speakers acquire responsibility from these same norms, I argue that hedging alters both components simultaneously. It changes which attitudes a hearer is prima facie (...)
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  27. Thinking Together: Advising as Collaborative Deliberation.Joshua Habgood-Coote - forthcoming - Philosophers' Imprint.
    We spend a good deal of time thinking about how and when to advise others, and how to respond to other people advising us. However, philosophical discussions of the nature and norms advising have been scattered and somewhat disconnected. The most focused discussion has come from philosophers of language interested in whether advising is a kind of assertive or directive kind of speech act. This paper argues that the ordinary category of advising is much more heterogenous than has been appreciated: (...)
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  28. Articulating Understanding: A Phenomenological Approach to Testimony on Gendered Violence.Charlotte Knowles - 2021 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 29 (4):448-472.
    ABSTRACT Testimony from victims of gendered violence is often wrongly disbelieved. This paper explores a way to address this problem by developing a phenomenological approach to testimony. Guided by the concept of ‘disclosedness’, a tripartite analysis of testimony as an affective, embodied, communicative act is developed. Affect indicates how scepticism may arise through the social moods that often attune agents to victims’ testimony. The embodiment of meaning suggests testimony should not be approached as an assertion, but as a process of (...)
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  29. Questions are higher-level acts.Michael Schmitz - 2021 - Academia Letters:1-5.
    Questions are not on all fours with assertions or directions, but higher-level acts that can operate on either to yield theoretical questions, as when one asks whether the door is closed, or practical questions, as when one asks whether to close it. They contain interrogative force indicators, which present positions of wondering, but also assertoric or directive force indicators which present the position of theoretical or practical knowledge the subject is striving for. Views based on the traditional force-content distinction take (...)
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  30. Conversational Epistemic Injustice: Extending the Insight from Testimonial Injustice to Speech Acts beyond Assertion.David C. Spewak - 2021 - Social Epistemology 35 (6):593-607.
    Testimonial injustice occurs when hearers attribute speakers a credibility deficit because of an identity prejudice and consequently dismiss speakers’ testimonial assertions. Various philosophers explain testimonial injustice by appealing to interpersonal norms arising within testimonial exchanges. When conversational participants violate these interpersonal norms, they generate second-personal epistemic harms, harming speakers as epistemic agents. This focus on testimony, however, neglects how systematically misevaluating speakers’ knowledge affects conversational participants more generally. When hearers systematically misevaluate speakers’ conversational competence because of entrenched assumptions about what (...)
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  31. Force, Content, and the Unity of the Proposition.Gabriele Mras & Michael Schmitz (eds.) - 2022 - New York: Routledge.
    This volume advances discussions between critics and defenders of the force-content distinction and opens new ways of thinking about force and speech acts in relation to the unity problem. -/- The force-content dichotomy has shaped the philosophy of language and mind since the time of Frege and Russell. Isn’t it obvious that, for example, the clauses of a conditional are not asserted and must therefore be propositions and propositions the forceless contents of forceful acts? But, others have recently asked in (...)
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  32. Assertion: a (partly) social speech act.Neri Marsili & Mitchell Green - 2021 - Journal of Pragmatics 181 (August 2021):17-28.
    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 (...)
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  33. The Lying-Misleading Distinction: A Commitment-Based Approach.Emanuel Viebahn - 2021 - Journal of Philosophy 118 (6):289-319.
    The distinction between lying and mere misleading is commonly tied to the distinction between saying and conversationally implicating. Many definitions of lying are based on the idea that liars say something they believe to be false, while misleaders put forward a believed-false conversational implicature. The aim of this paper is to motivate, spell out, and defend an alternative approach, on which lying and misleading differ in terms of commitment: liars, but not misleaders, commit themselves to something they believe to be (...)
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  34. Force, content and the varieties of unity.Michael Schmitz - 2022 - In Gabriele Mras & Michael Schmitz (eds.), Force, content and the unity of the proposition. New York: Routledge. pp. 71-90.
    In this paper I propose three steps to overcome the force-content dichotomy and dispel the Frege point. First, we should ascribe content to force indicators. Through basic assertoric and directive force indicators such as intonation, word order and mood, a subject presents its position of theoretical or practical knowledge of a state of affairs as a fact, as something that is the case, or as a goal, as something to do. Force indicators do not operate on truth- or satisfaction evaluable (...)
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  35. Credible Futures.Andrea Iacona & Samuele Iaquinto - 2021 - Synthese 199:10953-10968.
    This paper articulates in formal terms a crucial distinction concerning future contingents, the distinction between what is true about the future and what is reasonable to believe about the future. Its key idea is that the branching structures that have been used so far to model truth can be employed to define an epistemic property, credibility, which we take to be closely related to knowledge and assertibility, and which is ultimately reducible to probability. As a result, two kinds of claims (...)
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  36. No context, no content, no problem.Ethan Nowak - 2020 - Mind and Language 36 (2):189-220.
    Recently, philosophers have offered compelling reasons to think that demonstratives are best represented as variables, sensitive not to the context of utterance, but to a variable assignment. Variablists typically explain familiar intuitions about demonstratives—intuitions that suggest that what is said by way of a demonstrative sentence varies systematically over contexts—by claiming that contexts initialize a particular assignment of values to variables. I argue that we do not need to link context and the assignment parameter in this way, and that we (...)
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  37. Assertoric content, responsibility, and metasemantics.Andrew Peet - 2021 - Mind and Language 37 (5):914-932.
    I argue that assertoric content functions as a means for us to track the responsibilities undertaken by communicators, and that distinctively assertoric commitments are distinguished by being generated directly in virtue of the words the speaker uses. This raises two questions: (a) Why are speakers responsible for the content thus generated? (b) Why is it important for us to distinguish between commitments in terms of their manner of generation? I answer the first question by developing a novel responsibility based metasemantics. (...)
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  38. Oddness, modularity, and exhaustification.Guillermo Del Pinal - 2021 - Natural Language Semantics 29 (1):115-158.
    According to the `grammatical account', scalar implicatures are triggered by a covert exhaustification operator present in logical form. This account covers considerable empirical ground, but there is a peculiar pattern that resists treatment given its usual implementation. The pattern centers on odd assertions like #"Most lions are mammals" and #"Some Italians come from a beautiful country", which seem to trigger implicatures in contexts where the enriched readings conflict with information in the common ground. Magri (2009, 2011) argues that, to account (...)
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  39. A General Semantics for Logics of Affirmation and Negation.Fabien Schang - 2021 - Journal of Applied Logics - IfCoLoG Journal of Logics and Their Applications 8 (2):593-609.
    A general framework for translating various logical systems is presented, including a set of partial unary operators of affirmation and negation. Despite its usual reading, affirmation is not redundant in any domain of values and whenever it does not behave like a full mapping. After depicting the process of partial functions, a number of logics are translated through a variety of affirmations and a unique pair of negations. This relies upon two preconditions: a deconstruction of truth-values as ordered and structured (...)
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  40. Hedging and the ignorance norm on inquiry.Yasha Sapir & Peter van Elswyk - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):5837-5859.
    What sort of epistemic positions are compatible with inquiries driven by interrogative attitudes like wonder and puzzlement? The ignorance norm provides a partial answer: interrogative attitudes directed at a particular question are never compatible with knowledge of the question’s answer. But some are tempted to think that interrogative attitudes are incompatible with weaker positions like belief as well. This paper defends that the ignorance norm is exhaustive. All epistemic positions weaker than knowledge directed at the answer to a question are (...)
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  41. Reviving the performative hypothesis?Peter van Elswyk - 2021 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 10 (4):240-248.
    A traditional problem with the performative hypothesis is that it cannot assign proper truth-conditions to a declarative sentence. This paper shows that the problem is solved by adopting a multidimensional semantics on which sentences have more than just truth-conditions. This is good news for those who want to at least partially revive the hypothesis. The solution also brings into focus a lesson about what issues to consider when drawing the semantics/pragmatics boundary.
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  42. Centred Propositions, What is Asserted, and Communication.Jakub Rudnicki - 2021 - Theoria 87 (1):187-206.
    In recent years there has been a heated debate on how to accommodate John Perry's observations about the essentiality of indexicality into our models of linguistic communication. This article is an attempt at providing a new perspective on this issue. I argue that we should jettison two elements taken for granted by the views I present, and criticize, here: no centring, uncentring, recentring and multicentring. These elements are: (1) taking the asserted content to be a part of the communication process (...)
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  43. Lob der Vermutung (In praise of conjectures).Emanuel Viebahn - forthcoming - In Romy Jaster & Geert Keil (eds.), Nachdenken über Corona. Stuttgart, Germany:
    Krisen, heißt es manchmal, erfordern klare Ansagen: Bei Behauptungen wissen wir, woran wir sind. Vermutungen hingegen sind unklar und stehen der Übernahme von Ver­ant­wor­tung entgegen. In diesem Essay wird mit den Mitteln der Sprachphilosophie ge­zeigt, dass vermutende Sprechakte für die Krisenkommunikation in der Corona-Pandemie richtig und wichtig sind. Weder sind Vermutungen anfälliger für Unklarheit als andere Sprechakte noch sind sie besser dazu geeignet, Verantwortung abzuweisen. Im Gegen­teil: In einer Situation, die durch Unsicherheit geprägt ist, sind Vermutungen besonders wertvoll für das (...)
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  44. Stand‐Up Comedy, Authenticity, and Assertion.Jesse Rappaport & Jake Quilty-Dunn - 2020 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 78 (4):477-490.
    Stand‐up comedy is often viewed in two contrary ways. In one view, comedians are hailed as providing genuine social insight and telling truths. In the other, comedians are seen as merely trying to entertain and not to be taken seriously. This tension raises a foundational question for the aesthetics of stand‐up: Do stand‐up comedians perform genuine assertions in their performances? This article considers this question in the light of several theories of assertion. We conclude that comedians on stage do not (...)
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  45. Conditionals all the way down.Matheus Silva - manuscript
    It is commonly accepted that unconditional statements are clearer and less problematic than conditional ones. This article challenges this belief by proposing that all unconditional statements can be reduced to conditional ones since epistemic justification is inherently conditional in nature. The distinction between unconditional and conditional statements is similar to the distinction between assumptions and premises, which is an idealization that results from our attempts to limit epistemic complexity. This has perplexing consequences: (1) since any ordinary statement can be viewed (...)
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  46. Intention and Commitment in Speech Acts.Daniel W. Harris - 2019 - Theoretical Linguistics 45 (1–2):53–67.
    What is a speech act, and what makes it count as one kind of speech act rather than another? In the target article, Geurts considers two ways of answering these questions. His opponent is intentionalism—the view that performing a speech act is a matter of acting with a communicative intention, and that speech acts of different kinds involve intentions to affect hearers in different ways. Geurts offers several objections to intentionalism. Instead, he articulates and defends an admirably clear and resolute (...)
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  47. Intentionalism and Bald-Faced Lies.Daniel W. Harris - 2020 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    In Lying and Insincerity, Andreas Stokke argues that bald-faced lies are genuine lies, and that lies are always assertions. Since bald-faced lies seem not to be aimed at convincing addressees of their contents, Stokke concludes that assertions needn’t have this aim. This conflicts with a traditional version of intentionalism, originally due to Grice, on which asserting something is a matter of communicatively intending for one’s addressee to believe it. I argue that Stokke’s own account of bald-faced lies faces serious problems (...)
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  48. ?!.Michael Schmitz - manuscript
    Frege argued for the force-content distinction not only by appealing to the logical and fictional contexts which are most closely associated with the “Frege point", but also based on the fact that an affirmative answer to a yes-no question constitutes an assertion. Supposedly this is only intelligible if the question contains a forceless thought or proposition which an affirmative answer then asserts. Against this I argue that this fact more readily supports the view that questions operate on assertions and other (...)
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  49. Retweeting: its linguistic and epistemic value.Neri Marsili - 2021 - Synthese 198:10457–10483.
    This paper analyses the communicative and epistemic value of retweeting (and more generally of reposting content on social media). Against a naïve view, it argues that retweets are not acts of endorsement, motivating this diagnosis with linguistic data. Retweeting is instead modelled as a peculiar form of quotation, in which the reported content is indicated rather than reproduced. A relevance-theoretic account of the communicative import of retweeting is then developed, to spell out the complex mechanisms by which retweets achieve their (...)
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  50. Rethinking Implicatures.Matheus Silva - manuscript
    This paper advances the following criticisms against the received view of implicatures: (1) implicatures are relations of pragmatic implication and not attempts to convey particular speaker meanings; (2) conversational implicatures are non-cancellable; (3) generalised conversational implicatures and conventional implicatures are necessary to preserve the cooperative assumption employing a conversational maxim of conveyability; (4) implicatures should be divided into utterance implicatures and assumption implicatures, not speaker implicatures and sentence implicatures; (5) trivial implicatures are genuine implicatures; (6) Grice’s theory of conversation cannot (...)
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