Synthese (12):1-20 (2020)

Nicholas Tebben
Towson University
If a speaker selflessly asserts that p, the speaker has good evidence that p is true, asserts that p on the basis of that evidence, but does not believe that p. Selfless assertions are widely thought to be acceptable, and therefore to pose a threat to the Knowledge Norm of Assertion. Advocates for the Knowledge Norm tend to respond to this threat by arguing that there are no such things as selfless assertions. They argue that those who appear to be selfless asserters either: believe what they assert, perform a speech act other than assertion, or assert a proposition other than the one that they seem to. I argue that such counterarguments are unsuccessful. There really are selfless assertions. But I also argue that they are no threat to the Knowledge Norm. There is a good case to be made that knowledge does not require belief. And if it does not, then the fact that some selfless assertions are appropriate does not tell against the Knowledge Norm. Indeed, I argue that selfless asserters know the propositions that they assert to be true.
Keywords norm of assertion  selfless assertions  speech acts
Categories (categorize this paper)
Reprint years 2020
DOI 10.1007/s11229-020-02827-5
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

Knowledge and its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 64 (1):200-201.
Norms of Assertion.Jennifer Lackey - 2007 - Noûs 41 (4):594–626.
Assertion, Knowledge, and Context.Keith DeRose - 2002 - Philosophical Review 111 (2):167-203.
Knowing and Asserting.Timothy Williamson - 1996 - Philosophical Review 105 (4):489.

View all 27 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Selfless Assertions: Some Empirical Evidence.John Turri - 2015 - Synthese 192 (4):1221-1233.
Knowledge Is (Still) the Norm of Assertion.Kok Yong Lee - 2017 - NCCU Philosophical Journal 37:33-74.
Against Selfless Assertions.Ivan Milić - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (9):2277-2295.
Being in a Position to Know is the Norm of Assertion.Christopher Willard-Kyle - 2020 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 101 (2):328-352.
Must We Know What We Say?Matthew Weiner - 2005 - Philosophical Review 114 (2):227-251.
A Note on Existentially Known Assertions.Ivan Milić - 2015 - Philosophical Quarterly 65 (261):813-821.
Assertion and the Future.Corine Besson & Anandi Hattiangadi - 2020 - In Sanford Goldberg (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Assertion. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 481-504.
Justification as the Appearance of Knowledge.Steven L. Reynolds - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 163 (2):367-383.
Representing Yourself as Knowing.Christopher McCammon - 2014 - American Philosophical Quarterly 51 (2):133-144.
Assertion and Transparent Self-Knowledge.Eric Marcus & John Schwenkler - 2019 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 49 (7):873-889.


Added to PP index

Total views
32 ( #345,709 of 2,461,878 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
16 ( #47,702 of 2,461,878 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes