Episteme 12 (1):29-51 (2015)

Authors
Andrew Peet
University of Leeds
Abstract
I outline what I call the ‘deniability problem’, explain why it is problematic, and identify the range of utterances to which it applies (using religious discourse as an example). The problem is as follows: To assign content to many utterances audiences must rely on their contextual knowledge. This generates a lot of scope for error. Thus, speakers are able to make assertions and deny responsibility for the proposition asserted, claiming that the audience made a mistake. I outline the problem (a limited version of which Fricker 2012 discusses), before explaining why it is problematic. Firstly it blocks testimonial knowledge according to assurance views. Secondly it prevents epistemic buck passing (the importance of which is emphasized by Goldberg 2006 and McMyler 2013). Finally, it removes a key disincentive to dishonesty. The recent literature on context sensitivity (particularly Cappelen and Lepore 2004) seems to entail that the problem applies to a very wide range of utterances. I consider a series of responses which fail to provide a solution, but which help us narrow down the scope of the problem.
Keywords Testimony  Pragmatics  What is Said  Communication  Assurance  Speaker Commitments
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1017/epi.2014.31
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Literal Meaning.François Recanati - 2002 - Cambridge University Press.
Reference and Reflexivity.John Perry - 2001 - Center for the Study of Language and Inf.

View all 41 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Assertion.Peter Pagin - 2015 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Communicating in Contextual Ignorance.Alex Davies - 2021 - Synthese 199 (5-6):12385-12405.
Illocutionary Pluralism.Marcin Lewiński - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):6687-6714.
Sneaky Assertions.Manuel García-Carpintero - 2018 - Philosophical Perspectives 32 (1):188-218.
Relativism, Disagreement and Testimony.Alexander Dinges - 2017 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 98 (S1):497-519.

View all 6 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Testimony: Evidence and Responsibility.Matthew Carl Weiner - 2003 - Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh
Assurance and Warrant.Edward Hinchman - 2014 - Philosophers' Imprint 14:1-58.
Testimony, Testimonial Belief, and Safety.Charlie Pelling - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 164 (1):205-217.
The Epistemic Significance of Address.Benjamin McMyler - 2013 - Synthese 190 (6):1059-1078.
The Concept of Testimony.Nicola Mößner - 2011 - In Christoph Jäger & Winfried Löffler (eds.), Epistemology: Contexts, Values, Disagreement, Papers of the 34. International Wittgenstein Symposium. Austrian Ludwig Wittgenstein Society. pp. 207-209.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2015-01-29

Total views
964 ( #6,620 of 2,505,765 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
70 ( #11,430 of 2,505,765 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes