Assertion: A Function First Account

Noûs 52 (2):411-442 (2018)
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This paper aims to develop a novel account of the normativity of assertion. Its core thesis is that assertion has an etiological epistemic function, viz. to generate knowledge in hearers. In conjunction with a general account of etiological functions and their normative import, it is argued that an assertion is epistemically good if and only if it has the disposition to generate knowledge in hearers. In addition, reason is provided to believe that it makes sense to regulate the practice of assertion by a speaker rule—and, more specifically, by a knowledge rule—as so regulating assertion contributes to ensuring that assertion fulfils its etiological function reliably.



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Christoph Kelp
University of Glasgow