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Linguistic Communication and Speech Acts

Cambridge, MA: MIT Press (1979)

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  1. Exchanging Reasons: Responses to Critics.Lilian Bermejo-Luque - 2011 - Theoria 26 (3):329-343.
    I provide responses to what I take to be the most salient aspects of John Biro, James Freeman, David Hitchcock, Robert Pinto, Harvey Siegel and Luis Vega’s criticisms to the normative model for argumentation that I have developed in Giving Reasons. Each response is articulated on a main question, i.e., the distinction between regulative and constitutive normativity within Argumentation Theory’s models, the semantic appraisal of argumentation, the concept of justification, the differences between Toulmin’s model and my model of argument and (...)
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  • Communication and Content.Prashant Parikh - 2019 - Berlin, Germany: Language Science Press.
    Communication and content presents a comprehensive and foundational account of meaning based on new versions of situation theory and game theory. The literal and implied meanings of an utterance are derived from first principles assuming little more than the partial rationality of interacting agents. New analyses of a number of diverse phenomena – a wide notion of ambiguity and content encompassing phonetics, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, and beyond, vagueness, convention and conventional meaning, indeterminacy, universality, the role of truth in communication, semantic (...)
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  • Knowledge and the Norm of Assertion: An Essay in Philosophical Science.John Turri - 2016 - Cambridge: Open Book Publishers.
    Language is a human universal reflecting our deeply social nature. Among its essential functions, language enables us to quickly and efficiently share information. We tell each other that many things are true—that is, we routinely make assertions. Information shared this way plays a critical role in the decisions and plans we make. In Knowledge and the Norm of Assertion, a distinguished philosopher and cognitive scientist investigates the rules or norms that structure our social practice of assertion. Combining evidence from philosophy, (...)
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  • Expectation Biases and Context Management with Negative Polar Questions.Alex Silk - 2020 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 49 (1):51-92.
    This paper examines distinctive discourse properties of preposed negative 'yes/no' questions (NPQs), such as 'Isn’t Jane coming too?'. Unlike with other 'yes/no' questions, using an NPQ '∼p?' invariably conveys a bias toward a particular answer, where the polarity of the bias is opposite of the polarity of the question: using the negative question '∼p?' invariably expresses that the speaker previously expected the positive answer p to be correct. A prominent approach—what I call the context-management approach, developed most extensively by Romero (...)
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  • What Might Machines Mean?Mitchell Green & Jan G. Michel - 2022 - Minds and Machines 32 (2):323-338.
    This essay addresses the question whether artificial speakers can perform speech acts in the technical sense of that term common in the philosophy of language. We here argue that under certain conditions artificial speakers can perform speech acts so understood. After explaining some of the issues at stake in these questions, we elucidate a relatively uncontroversial way in which machines can communicate, namely through what we call verbal signaling. But verbal signaling is not sufficient for the performance of a speech (...)
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  • Communication and Variance.Martín Abreu Zavaleta - 2021 - Topoi 40 (1):147-169.
    According to standard assumptions in semantics, ordinary users of a language have implicit beliefs about the truth-conditions of sentences in that language, and they often agree on those beliefs. For example, it is assumed that if Anna and John are both competent users of English and the former utters ‘grass is green’ in conversation with the latter, they will both believe that that sentence is true if and only if grass is green. These assumptions play an important role in an (...)
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  • Towards a Unified Theory of Illocutionary Normativity.Neri Marsili - forthcoming - In Laura Caponetto & Paolo Labinaz (eds.), Sbisà on Speech as Action. Palgrave Macmillan.
    This chapter offers some programmatic suggestions for developing a unified framework for classifying, studying, and conceptualising illocutionary rules. It shows that Sbisà’s seminal work provides a fertile ground for bringing together under a single flag different lines of research on illocutionary normativity. It argues that the notions of illocutionary goals and illocutionary obligations can enrich Sbisà’s model. Finally, it develops an approach for deriving cooperative rules from an illocution's aims, delineating a way to model illocutionary normativity that avoids dubious appeals (...)
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  • Normative Accounts of Assertion: From Peirce to Williamson and Back Again.Neri Marsili - 2015 - Rivista Italiana di Filosofia del Linguaggio 2014:112-130.
    Arguably, a theory of assertion should be able to provide (i) a definition of assertion, and (ii) a set of conditions for an assertion to be appropriate. This paper reviews two strands of theories that have attempted to meet this challenge. Commitment-based accounts à la Peirce define assertion in terms of commitment to the truth of the proposition. Restriction-based accounts à la Williamson define assertion in terms of the conditions for its appropriate performance. After assessing the suitability of these projects (...)
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  • Bragging.Mark Alfano & Brian Robinson - 2014 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 3 (4):263-272.
    The speech act of bragging has never been subjected to conceptual analysis until now. We argue that a speaker brags just in case she makes an utterance that is an assertion and is intended to impress the addressee with something about the speaker via the belief produced by the speaker's assertion. We conclude by discussing why it is especially difficult to cancel a brag by prefacing it with, ‘I'm not trying to impress you, but…’ and connect this discussion with Moore's (...)
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  • Can Emotions Communicate?Trip Glazer - 2014 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 3 (3):234-242.
    In “Reactive Attitudes as Communicative Entities” , Coleen Macnamara argues that the reactive attitudes—a class of moral emotions that includes indignation, resentment, and gratitude—are essentially communicative entities. She argues that this conclusion follows from the premises that the reactive attitudes are messages, which have the proper function of eliciting uptake from others. In response, I argue that while the expressions of these emotions may fit this description, the emotions themselves do not. The reactive attitudes neither are messages nor have the (...)
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  • Reimagining Illocutionary Force.Lucy McDonald - 2022 - Philosophical Quarterly 72 (4):918-939.
    Speech act theorists tend to hold that the illocutionary force of an utterance is determined by one interlocutor alone: either the speaker or the hearer. Yet experience tells us that the force of our utterances is not determined unilaterally. Rather, communication often feels collaborative. In this paper, I develop and defend a collaborative theory of illocutionary force, according to which the illocutionary force of an utterance is determined by an agreement reached by the speaker and the hearer. This theory, which (...)
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  • On the Connection Between Lying, Asserting, and Intending to Cause Beliefs.Vladimir Krstic - forthcoming - 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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  • Silencing Without Convention.Elmar Unnsteinsson - 2019 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 100 (2):573-598.
    Silencing is usually explained in terms of conventionalism about the nature of speech acts. More recently, theorists have tried to develop intentionalist theories of the phenomenon. I argue, however, that if intentionalists are to accommodate the conventionalists' main insight, namely that silencing can be so extreme as to render certain types of speech act completely unavailable to victims, they must take two assumptions on board. First, it must be possible that speakers' communicative intentions are opaque to the speakers themselves. Secondly, (...)
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  • Intending is Believing: A Defense of Strong Cognitivism.Berislav Marušić & John Schwenkler - 2018 - Analytic Philosophy 59 (3):309-340.
    We argue that intentions are beliefs—beliefs that are held in light of, and made rational by, practical reasoning. To intend to do something is neither more nor less than to believe, on the basis of one’s practical reasoning, that one will do it. The identification of the mental state of intention with the mental state of belief is what we call strong cognitivism about intentions. It is a strong form of cognitivism because we identify intentions with beliefs, rather than maintaining (...)
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  • 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.
    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 (...)
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  • Atomism, Concepts, and Polysemy.Kamil Lemanek - 2021 - Philosophia 50 (3):1243-1264.
    The aim of this paper is to examine the theoretical architecture of semantic atomism and its consequences with respect to natural language. In particular, it looks to explore the notion of possible concepts using the fundamental distinction between simple and complex concepts and expressions in Jerry Fodor’s atomism. The distinction is exploited to produce an unusual type of concept referred to as a correlate, which effectively mirrors complex concepts while maintaining a distinct underlying structure. Though harmless in and of themselves, (...)
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  • Pragmatics, Modularity and Mind‐Reading.Dan Sperber & Deirdre Wilson - 2002 - Mind and Language 17 (1-2):3–23.
    The central problem for pragmatics is that sentence meaning vastly underdetermines speaker’s meaning. The goal of pragmatics is to explain how the gap between sentence meaning and speaker’s meaning is bridged. This paper defends the broadly Gricean view that pragmatic interpretation is ultimately an exercise in mind-reading, involving the inferential attribution of intentions. We argue, however, that the interpretation process does not simply consist in applying general mind-reading abilities to a particular (communicative) domain. Rather, it involves a dedicated comprehension module, (...)
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  • Two Types of Implicature: Material and Behavioural.Mark Jary - 2013 - Mind and Language 28 (5):638-660.
    This article argues that what Grice termed ‘particularized conversational implicatures’ can be divided into two types. In some cases, it is possible to reconstruct the inference from the explicit content of the utterance to the implicature without employing a premise to the effect that that the speaker expressed that content (by means of an utterance). I call these ‘material implicatures’. Those whose reconstruction relies on a premise about the speaker's verbal behaviour, by contrast, I call ‘behavioural implicatures’. After showing that (...)
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  • Echo Questions Are Interrogatives? Another Version of a Metarepresentational Analysis.Seizi Iwata - 2003 - Linguistics and Philosophy 26 (2):185 - 254.
    Noh (1998a, b) analyzes echo questions in terms of metarepresentation and pragmatic enrichment within the framework of Relevance Theory. This paper argues that while the basic idea of metarepresentational analysis seems correct, it is better implemented differently. The alternative analysis proposed in this paper consists of three claims: first, echo questions are metarepresentational with rising intonation, with the rise alone conferring the question status; second, echo questions question the pragmatically enriched attribution; third, the focus of metarepresentation is to be distinguished (...)
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  • Relevance Theory Explains the Selection Task.D. Sperber - 1995 - Cognition 57 (1):31-95.
  • On the Nature of Presupposition: A Normative Speech Act Account.Manuel García-Carpintero - 2020 - Erkenntnis 85 (2):269-293.
    In this paper I provide a new account of linguistic presuppositions, on which they are ancillary speech acts defined by constitutive norms. After providing an initial intuitive characterization of the phenomenon, I present a normative speech act account of presupposition in parallel with Williamson’s analogous account of assertion. I explain how it deals well with the problem of informative presuppositions, and how it relates to accounts for the Triggering and Projection Problems for presuppositions. I conclude with a brief discussion of (...)
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  • Accepting & Rejecting Questions: First Steps Toward a Bilateralism for Erotetic Logic.Jared A. Millson - 2021 - In Moritz Cordes (ed.), Asking and Answering: Rivalling Approaches to Interrogative Methods. Tübingen: Narr Francke Attempto. pp. 211–232.
    It’s commonly thought that, in conversation, speakers accept and reject propositions that have been asserted by others. Do speakers accept and reject questions as well? Intuitively, it seems that they do. But what does it mean to accept or reject a question? What is the relationship between these acts and those of asking and answering questions? Are there clear and distinct classes of reasons that speakers have for acceptance and rejection of questions? This chapter seeks to address these issues. Beyond (...)
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  • Norms of Assertion.Jennifer Lackey - 2007 - Noûs 41 (4):594–626.
  • Implicating Questions.David Braun - 2011 - Mind and Language 26 (5):574-595.
    I modify Grice's theory of conversational implicature so as to accommodate acts of implicating propositions by asking questions, acts of implicating questions by asserting propositions, and acts of implicating questions by asking questions. I describe the relations between a declarative sentence's semantic content (the proposition it semantically expresses), on the one hand, and the propositions that a speaker locutes, asserts, and implicates by uttering that sentence, on the other. I discuss analogous relations between an interrogative sentence's semantic content (the question (...)
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  • A Taxonomy of Noncanonical Uses of Interrogatives.Tomasz Puczyłowski - 2022 - Axiomathes 32 (3):505-527.
    The aims of this paper are to provide a detailed taxonomy of noncanonical uses of interrogative sentences, i.e. when they are used not to ask a question but to convey some information, or to ask a question albeit not that expressed by the interrogative sentence exploited in the act, to identify properties of circumstances where an interrogative sentence is being used in this way, and to propose some maxims that govern the rational use of questions. Four main categories of such (...)
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  • Bald-Faced Lies, Blushing, and Noses that Grow: An Experimental Analysis.Vladimir Krstić & Alexander Wiegmann - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-24.
    We conducted two experiments to determine whether common folk think that so-called tell-tale sign bald-faced lies are intended to deceive—since they have not been tested before. These lies involve tell-tale signs that show that the speaker is lying. Our study was designed to avoid problems earlier studies raise. Our main hypothesis was that the participants will think that the protagonists from our examples lied without intending to deceive, and the results of our surveys confirmed this hypothesis: most of our participants (...)
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  • How to handle beliefs and knowledge: JL. Austin's philosophy of language.Alexa Bódog - 2012 - Argumentu 8:42-52.
    The present paper focuses on the Austinian approach to intentionality. My aim is to demonstrate that the Austinian concept and its application in the classical version of speech act theory are fundamentally different from the treatment of intentionality in the received version of speech act theory (as developed by Searle). The received version of speech act theory treats intentional states as a bunch of internal individual beliefs, desires, and intentions, while it assumes that conventions belong to the external social domains. (...)
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  • The status of individual and collective intentions in Searle's speech act theory.Alexa Bódog - 2012 - Argumentum 8:42-52.
    The present study focuses on the received version of speech act theory as developed by Searle. The aim of the paper is to demonstrate how Searle formulates precise and general conditions for illocutionary act individuation based on the linguistic description of inherent individual intentions. I argue for the impossibility of such individuation processes.
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  • Reimagining Illocutionary Force.Lucy McDonald - forthcoming - The Philosophical Quarterly.
    Speech act theorists tend to hold that the illocutionary force of an utterance is determined by one interlocutor alone: either the speaker or the hearer. Yet experience tells us that the force of our utterances is not determined unilaterally. Rather, communication often feels collaborative. In this paper, I develop and defend a collaborative theory of illocutionary force, according to which the illocutionary force of an utterance is determined by an agreement reached by the speaker and the hearer. This theory, which (...)
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  • The Social Epistemology of Introspection.Elmar Unnsteinsson - 2022 - Mind and Language:1-18.
    I argue that introspection recruits the same mental mechanism as that which is required for the production of ordinary speech acts. In introspection, in effect, we intentionally tell ourselves that we are in some mental state, aiming thereby to produce belief about that state in ourselves. On one popular view of speech acts, however, this is precisely what speakers do when speaking to others. On this basis, I argue that every bias discovered by social epistemology applies to introspection and other (...)
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  • 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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  • Lying, Speech Acts, and Commitment.Neri Marsili - 2020 - Synthese 199 (1-2):3245-3269.
    Not every speech act can be a lie. A good definition of lying should be able to draw the right distinctions between speech acts that can be lies and speech acts that under no circumstances are lies. This paper shows that no extant account of lying is able to draw the required distinctions. It argues that a definition of lying based on the notion of ‘assertoric commitment’ can succeed where other accounts have failed. Assertoric commitment is analysed in terms of (...)
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  • 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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  • Bald-Faced Lies: How to Make a Move in a Language Game Without Making a Move in a Conversation.Jessica Keiser - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (2):461-477.
    According to the naïve, pre-theoretic conception, lying seems to be characterized by the intent to deceive. However, certain kinds of bald-faced lies appear to be counterexamples to this view, and many philosophers have abandoned it as a result. I argue that this criticism of the naïve view is misplaced; bald-faced lies are not genuine instances of lying because they are not genuine instances of assertion. I present an additional consideration in favor of the naïve view, which is that abandoning it (...)
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  • Indicative Conditionals and the Expressive Conception of Logic.Spencer Paulson - 2022 - Journal of Transcendental Philosophy 3 (1):33-48.
    It is often thought that the test for whether an indicative conditional is assertible is to first suppose the antecedent and then check to see if the consequent is probable on that supposition. Call this procedure the “Ramsey Test”. Some influential accounts of indicative conditionals hold that the Ramsey Test works because indicative conditionals are used to express a high credence in the consequent conditional on the antecedent. In this paper I will argue that a different expressivist account, one inspired (...)
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  • Semantica e pragmatica linguistica. Tracce di normalità nelle implicature scalari.Salvatore Pistoia-Reda - 2014 - Carocci.
    In this book an introduction to the grammatical view of the scalar implicature phenomenon is presented. A detailed overview is offered concerning the embeddability of the exhaustivity operator, and the contextual dependance of the alternatives generation process. The theoretical implications of the grammatical view with respect to the abductive character of the scalar implicature are also discussed. A pragmatic account of the assertive content is proposed in correlation with a blindness-based account of the semantic content carried by scalar sentences, in (...)
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  • Around the Tree: Semantic and Metaphysical Issues Concerning Branching and the Open Future.Fabrice Correia & Andrea Iacona (eds.) - 2013 - Dordrecht, Netherland: Springer.
    Over the past few years, the tree model of time has been widely employed to deal with issues concerning the semantics of tensed discourse. The thought that has motivated its adoption is that the most plausible way to make sense of indeterminism is to conceive of future possibilities as branches that depart from a common trunk, constituted by the past and the present. However, the thought still needs to be further articulated and defended, and several important questions remain open, such (...)
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  • Beyond Words: Communication, Truthfulness, and Understanding.Patrick Rysiew - 2007 - Episteme 4 (3):285-304.
    Testimony is an indispensable source of information. Yet, contrary to ‘literalism’, speakers rarely mean just what they say; and even when they do, that itself is something the hearer needs to realize. So, understanding instances of testimony requires more than merely reading others' messages off of the words they utter. Further, a very familiar and theoretically well-entrenched approach to how we arrive at such understanding serves to emphasize, not merely how deeply committed we are to testimony as a reliable source (...)
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  • Lies, Common Ground and Performative Utterances.Neri Marsili - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-12.
    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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  • A Commitment-Theoretic Account of Moore's Paradox.Jack Woods - forthcoming - In An Atlas of Meaning: Current Research in the Semantics/Pragmatics Interface).
    Moore’s paradox, the infamous felt bizarreness of sincerely uttering something of the form “I believe grass is green, but it ain’t”—has attracted a lot of attention since its original discovery (Moore 1942). It is often taken to be a paradox of belief—in the sense that the locus of the inconsistency is the beliefs of someone who so sincerely utters. This claim has been labeled as the priority thesis: If you have an explanation of why a putative content could not be (...)
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  • True Lies and Moorean Redundancy.Alex Wiegmann & Emanuel Viebahn - 2021 - Synthese 199 (5-6):13053-13066.
    According to the subjective view of lying, speakers can lie by asserting a true proposition, as long as they believe this proposition to be false. This view contrasts with the objective view, according to which lying requires the actual falsity of the proposition asserted. The aim of this paper is to draw attention to pairs of assertions that differ only in intuitively redundant content and to show that such pairs of assertions are a reason to favour the subjective view of (...)
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  • The Status of the Knowledge Account of Assertion.Frank Hindriks - 2007 - Linguistics and Philosophy 30 (3):393-406.
    According to the increasingly popular knowledge account, assertion is governed by the rule that speech acts of that kind require knowledge of their content. Timothy Williamson has argued that this knowledge rule is the constitutive rule of assertion. It is argued here that it is not the constitutive rule of assertion in any sense of the term, as it governs only some assertions rather than all of them. A (qualified) knowledge rule can in fact be derived from the traditional analysis (...)
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  • Applying Pragmatics to Epistemology.Kent Bach - 2008 - Philosophical Issues 18 (1):68-88.
    This paper offers a smattering of applications of pragmatics to epistemology. In most cases they concern recent epistemological claims that depend for their plausibility on mistaking something pragmatic for something semantic. After giving my formulation of the semantic/pragmatic distinction and explaining how seemingly semantic intuitions can be responsive to pragmatic factors, I take up the following topics: 1. Classic Examples of Confusing Meaning and Use 2. Pragmatic Implications of Hedging or Intensifying an Assertion 3. Belief Attributions 4. Knowledge-wh 5. The (...)
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  • Proceedings of Sinn Und Bedeutung 15, Saarbruecken.Ingo Reich (ed.) - 2010 - Saarbrücken: Universitätsverlag des Saarlandes.
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  • Testimony is Not Disjunctive.Peter J. Graham - 2022 - Asian Journal of Philosophy 1 (1).
    Jennifer Lackey argues that “testimony” in philosophy has one sense, but that sense—the concept expressed—is disjunctive. One disjunct she calls speaker-testimony and the other disjunct she calls hearer-testimony. A speaker then testifies simpliciter iff the speaker either speaker-testifies or hearer-testifies. Inadequate views of testimony, she argues, fail to recognize, distinguish and then disjoin these two “aspects” of testimony. I argue that her view about the semantics of “testimony” is mistaken and that her criticisms of two other views—mine included —are ineffective. (...)
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  • Rethinking the Presumption of Atheism.Keith Burgess-Jackson - 2018 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 84 (1):93-111.
    Is there—or rather, ought there to be—a presumption of atheism, as Antony Flew so famously argued nearly half a century ago? It is time to revisit this issue. After clarifying the concept of a presumption of atheism, I take up the evaluative question of whether there ought to be a presumption of atheism, focusing on Flew’s arguments for an affirmative answer. I conclude that Flew’s arguments, one of which rests on an analogy with the presumption of innocence, fail.
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  • Meaning, Expression, and Evidence.Ray Buchanan - 2012 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 1 (2):152-157.
    Grice's (1957) analysis of non-natural meaning generated a huge industry, where new analyses were put forward to respond to successively more complex counterexamples. Davis (2003) offers a novel and refreshingly simple analysis of meaning in terms of the expression of belief, where (roughly) an agent expresses the belief that p just in case she performs a publicly observable action with the intention that it be an indication that she occurrently believes that p. I argue that Davis's analysis fails to capture (...)
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  • Assessment Sensitivity: Relative Truth and its Applications.John MacFarlane - 2014 - Oxford University Press.
    John MacFarlane explores how we might make sense of the idea that truth is relative. He provides new, satisfying accounts of parts of our thought and talk that have resisted traditional methods of analysis, including what we mean when we talk about what is tasty, what we know, what will happen, what might be the case, and what we ought to do.
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  • You Don't Say! Lying, Asserting and Insincerity.Neri Marsili - 2017 - Dissertation, University of Sheffield
    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 (...)
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  • Assertion, Complexity, and Sincerity.Robin McKenna - 2015 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 93 (4):782-798.
    The target of this paper is the ‘simple’ knowledge account of assertion, according to which assertion is constituted by a single epistemic rule of the form ‘One must: assert p only if one knows p’. My aim is to argue that those who are attracted to a knowledge account of assertion should prefer what I call the ‘complex’ knowledge account, according to which assertion is constituted by a system of rules all of which are, taken together, constitutive of assertion. One (...)
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