The aim of this study is to develop from Kristeva’s account of time and semiotics the conditions of possibility for a new approach to interpreting the Bible. This will be set against the background of feminist biblical criticism, beginning from Esther Fuchs’s assessment of deception. She bases her comparison on the concept of deceptiveness but I will argue, using Lacan, that the aporia of desire undermines this comparison. Through Kristeva’s framework of the phases of feminism it will be shown that (...) Fuchs’s argument weakness lies in her presupposition of the determinate identities of men and women. By examining passages in Genesis it will be shown that such determined identities are also not easily found in the Hebrew Bible. Then by considering another feminist scholar, Alice Bach, it will be shown that overcoming identity requires a more nuanced approach. In the first version of “Women’s Time” Kristeva suggests that identities could be overcome through moving towards the individual but this also operates in the same structure of identity. In fact Kristeva appears to recognize this problem as when she republishes the essay she considers a different way forward. It will be instead suggested that a type of feminism that recognizes its own weakness is needed. This will be used to interpret Proverbs 31 but in doing so it will become evident that this alone lacks the potency to overcome the diffuse nature of the symbolic. (shrink)
In 2008, many states sought to pass Human Life Amendments, which would extend the definition of personhood to encompass newly fertilized eggs. If such an amendment were to pass, Roe v. Wade, as currently defended by the Supreme Court, may be repealed. Consequently, it is necessary to defend the right to an abortion in a manner that succeeds even if a Human Life Amendment successfully passes. J.J. Thomson's argument in ?A Defense of Abortion? successfully achieves this. Her argument is especially (...) strong when one considers that her central thesis?that one person's right to life does not entail the right to use another's person's body for continued sustenance?is pervasive in legal policies in the U.S.A. (shrink)
The burgeoning science of ethics has produced a trend toward pessimism. Ordinary moral thought and action, we’re told, are profoundly influenced by arbitrary factors and ultimately driven by unreasoned feelings. This book counters the current orthodoxy on its own terms by carefully engaging with the empirical literature. The resulting view, optimistic rationalism, shows the pervasive role played by reason, and ultimately defuses sweeping debunking arguments in ethics. The science does suggest that moral knowledge and virtue don’t come easily. However, despite (...) the heavy influence of automatic and unconscious processes that have been shaped by evolutionary pressures, we needn’t reject ordinary moral psychology as fundamentally flawed or in need of serious repair. Reason can be corrupted in ethics just as in other domains, but a special pessimism about morality in particular is unwarranted. Moral judgment and motivation are fundamentally rational enterprises not beholden to the passions. (shrink)
Most arguments for or against abortion focus on one question: is the fetus a person? In this provocative and important book, David Boonin defends the claim that even if the fetus is a person with the same right to life you and I have, abortion should still be legal, and most current restrictions on abortion should be abolished.
It has often been suggested that people’s ordinary capacities for understanding the world make use of much the same methods one might find in a formal scientific investigation. A series of recent experimental results offer a challenge to this widely-held view, suggesting that people’s moral judgments can actually influence the intuitions they hold both in folk psychology and in causal cognition. The present target article distinguishes two basic approaches to explaining such effects. One approach would be to say that the (...) relevant competencies are entirely non-moral but that some additional factor (conversational pragmatics, performance error, etc.) then interferes and allows people’s moral judgments to affect their intuitions. Another approach would be to say that moral considerations truly do figure in workings of the competencies themselves. It is argued that the data available now favor the second of these approaches over the first. (shrink)
Closure for justification is the claim that thinkers are justified in believing the logical consequences of their justified beliefs, at least when those consequences are competently deduced. Many have found this principle to be very plausible. Even more attractive is the special case of Closure known as Single-Premise Closure. In this paper, I present a challenge to Single-Premise Closure. The challenge is based on the phenomenon of rational self-doubt – it can be rational to be less than fully confident in (...) one's beliefs and patterns of reasoning. In rough outline, the argument is as follows: Consider a thinker who deduces a conclusion from a justified initial premise via an incredibly long sequence of small competent deductions. Surely, such a thinker should suspect that he has made a mistake somewhere. And surely, given this, he should not believe the conclusion of the deduction even though he has a justified belief in the initial premise. (shrink)
Experimental philosophy is a new interdisciplinary field that uses methods normally associated with psychology to investigate questions normally associated with philosophy. The present review focuses on research in experimental philosophy on four central questions. First, why is it that people's moral judgments appear to influence their intuitions about seemingly nonmoral questions? Second, do people think that moral questions have objective answers, or do they see morality as fundamentally relative? Third, do people believe in free will, and do they see free (...) will as compatible with determinism? Fourth, how do people determine whether an entity is conscious? (shrink)
This article deals with hope – and its importance – by analysing the little-known analysis of hope found in Kierkegaard. Kierkegaard present hope as essential to moral agency, arguingthat hope should never be given up, even if it is not supported by experience. This articlegives an interpretation of the strong claims about the necessity of hope found in Kierkegaardwhich tries to reconstruct some of Kierkegaard’s central claims, arguing that Kierkegaard can be used to sketch a distinction between justified and unjustified (...) hope. (shrink)
Experimental philosophy uses experimental research methods from psychology and cognitive science in order to investigate both philosophical and metaphilosophical questions. It explores philosophical questions about the nature of the psychological world - the very structure or meaning of our concepts of things, and about the nature of the non-psychological world - the things themselves. It also explores metaphilosophical questions about the nature of philosophical inquiry and its proper methodology. This book provides a detailed and provocative introduction to this innovative field, (...) focusing on the relationship between experimental philosophy and the aims and methods of more traditional analytic philosophy. Special attention is paid to carefully examining experimental philosophy's quite different philosophical programs, their individual strengths and weaknesses, and the different kinds of contributions that they can make to our philosophical understanding. Clear and accessible throughout, it situates experimental philosophy within both a contemporary and historical context, explains its aims and methods, examines and critically evaluates its most significant claims and arguments, and engages with its critics. (shrink)
The selected effects or ‘etiological’ theory of Proper function is a naturalistic and realist account of biological teleology. It is used to analyse normativity in philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, philosophy of medicine and elsewhere. The theory has been developed with a simple and intuitive view of natural selection. Traits are selected because of their positive effects on the fitness of the organisms that have them. These ‘selected effects’ are the Proper functions of the traits. Proponents argue that this (...) analysis of biological teleology has the unique advantage that the selected effect function of a trait is also a causal explanation of the trait: the trait exists because it performs this function. We show, however, that selected effect functions as currently defined explain the existence of traits only under highly restrictive assumptions about evolutionary dynamics. In many common scenarios in which traits evolve by natural selection, selected effect functions do not explain those traits. This is because definitions of selected effect function extract from any evolutionary scenario only the information that would be explanatorily relevant in the simple evolutionary scenario implicit in those definitions. When applied to more complex scenarios selected effect functions omit the key information that is explanatorily relevant in those scenarios. The assumptions required for selected effect functions to be explanatory are particularly unlikely to hold in the domain that its proponents care most about - the evolution of representation. A more adequate selected effects theory of Proper functions may be possible, but will require much greater attention to the structure of actual evolutionary explanations. (shrink)
It has been standard philosophical practice in analytic philosophy to employ intuitions generated in response to thought-experiments as evidence in the evaluation of philosophical claims. In part as a response to this practice, an exciting new movement—experimental philosophy—has recently emerged. This movement is unified behind both a common methodology and a common aim: the application of methods of experimental psychology to the study of the nature of intuitions. In this paper, we will introduce two different views concerning the relationship that (...) holds between experimental philosophy and the future of standard philosophical practice (what we call, the proper foundation view and the restrictionist view), discuss some of the more interesting and important results obtained by proponents of both views, and examine the pressure these results put on analytic philosophers to reform standard philosophical practice. We will also defend experimental philosophy from some recent objections, suggest future directions for work in experimental philosophy, and suggest what future lines of epistemological response might be available to those wishing to defend analytic epistemology from the challenges posed by experimental philosophy. (shrink)
This book argues that this powerful technique permits the social sciences to meet an explanation, in which one 'grows' the phenomenon of interest in an artificial society of interacting agents: heterogeneous, boundedly rational actors.
We investigate the value of persons. Our primary goal is to chart a path from equal and extreme value to infinite value. We advance two arguments. Each argument offers a reason to think that equal and extreme value are best accounted for if we are infinitely valuable. We then raise some difficult but fruitful questions about the possible grounds or sources of our infinite value, if we indeed have such value.
Many of Søren Kierkegaard's most controversial and influential ideas are more relevant than ever to contemporary debates on ethics, philosophy of religion and selfhood. Kierkegaard develops an original argument according to which wholeheartedness requires both moral and religious commitment. In this book, Roe Fremstedal provides a compelling reconstruction of how Kierkegaard develops wholeheartedness in the context of his views on moral psychology, meta-ethics and the ethics of religious belief. He shows that Kierkegaard's influential account of despair, selfhood, ethics and religion (...) belongs to a larger intellectual context in which German philosophers such as Kant and Fichte play crucial roles. Moreover, Fremstedal makes a solid case for the controversial claim that religion supports ethics, instead of contradicting it. His book offers a novel and comprehensive reading of Kierkegaard, drawing on important sources that are little known. (shrink)
The extensive involvement of nonconscious processes in human behaviour has led some to suggest that consciousness is much less important for the control of action than we might think. In this article I push against this trend, developing an understanding of conscious control that is sensitive to our best models of overt action control. Further, I assess the cogency of various zombie challenges—challenges that seek to demote the importance of conscious control for human agency. I argue that though nonconscious contributions (...) to action control are evidently robust, these challenges are overblown. (shrink)
Substance has been a leading idea in the history of Western philosophy. _Joshua Hoffman and Gary S. Rosenkrantz_ explain the nature and existence of individual substances, including both living things and inanimate objects. Specifically written for students new to this important and often complex subject, _Substance_ provides both the historical and contemporary overview of the debate. Great Philosophers of the past, such as Aristotle, Descartes, Spinoza, Leibnitz, Locke, and Berkeley were profoundly interested in the concept of substance. And, the authors (...) argue, a belief in the existence of substances is an integral part of our everyday world view. But what constitutes substance? Was Aristotle right to suggest that artefacts like tables and ships don't really exist? _Substance: Its Nature and Existence_ is one of the first non-technical, accessible guides to this central problem and will be of great use to students of metaphysics and philosophy. (shrink)
Social commentators have long asked whether racial categories should be conserved or eliminated from our practices, discourse, institutions, and perhaps even private thoughts. In _A Theory of Race_, Joshua Glasgow argues that this set of choices unnecessarily presents us with too few options. Using both traditional philosophical tools and recent psychological research to investigate folk understandings of race, Glasgow argues that, as ordinarily conceived, race is an illusion. However, our pressing need to speak to and make sense of social (...) life requires that we employ something like racial discourse. These competing pressures, Glasgow maintains, ultimately require us to stop conceptualizing race as something biological, and instead understand it as an entirely social phenomenon. (shrink)
Advocates of the use of intuitions in philosophy argue that they are treated as evidence because they are evidential. Their opponents agree that they are treated as evidence, but argue that they should not be so used, since they are the wrong kinds of things. In contrast to both, we argue that, despite appearances, intuitions are not treated as evidence in philosophy whether or not they should be. Our positive account is that intuitions are a subclass of inclinations to believe. (...) Our thesis explains why intuitions play a role in persuasion and inquiry, without conceding that they are evidential. The account also makes predictions about the structure of intuitions that are confirmed by independent arguments. (shrink)
The rise of experimental philosophy has placed metaphilosophical questions, particularly those concerning concepts, at the center of philosophical attention. X-phi offers empirically rigorous methods for identifying conceptual content, but what exactly it contributes towards evaluating conceptual content remains unclear. We show how x-phi complements Rudolf Carnap’s underappreciated methodology for concept determination, explication. This clarifies and extends x-phi’s positive philosophical import, and also exhibits explication’s broad appeal. But there is a potential problem: Carnap’s account of explication was limited to empirical and (...) logical concepts, but many concepts of interest to philosophers are essentially normative. With formal epistemology as a case study, we show how x-phi assisted explication can apply to normative domains. (shrink)
During the eighteenth century, the specter of atheism was a major concern among many intellectuals in Europe. Many of the leading figures of the period such as François-Marie Arouet de Voltaire refuted atheism at every turn. These debates centered on living organisms, particularly questions about generation. Efforts to explain the process of generation raised biological, religious, and political questions. One popular theory put forward to address the question of generation was preformation, the belief that “germs” had been in existence since (...) God created the world. This chapter first discusses the rise of preformationist thinking in the late seventeenth century before turning to the biological evidence that challenged preexistence in the mid-eighteenth century and analyzing the reaction it triggered among the preformationists. It also examines the work of Voltaire and Denis Diderot to illustrate how the generation debates are linked to the materialism question. The chapter concludes by showing how these controversies about nature and biology became entangled with politics in eighteenth-century France. (shrink)
Recent empirical research seems to show that emotions play a substantial role in moral judgment. Perhaps the most important line of support for this claim focuses on disgust. A number of philosophers and scientists argue that there is adequate evidence showing that disgust significantly influences various moral judgments. And this has been used to support or undermine a range of philosophical theories, such as sentimentalism and deontology. I argue that the existing evidence does not support such arguments. At best it (...) suggests something rather different: that moral judgment can have a minor emotive function, in addition to a substantially descriptive one. (shrink)
In defending his interest-relative account of knowledge in Knowledge and Practical Interests (2005), Jason Stanley relies heavily on intuitions about several bank cases. We experimentally test the empirical claims that Stanley seems to make concerning our common-sense intuitions about these bank cases. Additionally, we test the empirical claims that Jonathan Schaffer seems to make in his critique of Stanley. We argue that our data impugn what both Stanley and Schaffer claim our intuitions about such cases are. To account for these (...) results, one must develop a better conception of the connection between a subject's interests and her body of knowledge than those offered by Stanley and Schaffer. (shrink)
Recently, a number of theorists (MacFarlane (2003, 2011), Egan et al. (2005), Egan (2007), Stephenson (2007a,b)) have argued that an adequate semantics and pragmatics for epistemic modals calls for some technical notion of relativist truth and/or relativist content. Much of this work has relied on an empirical thesis about speaker judgments, namely that competent speakers tend to judge a present-tense bare epistemic possibility claim true only if the prejacent is compatible with their information. Relativists have in particular appealed to judgments (...) elicited in so-called eavesdropping and retraction cases to support this empirical thesis. But opposing theorists have denied the judgments, and at present there is no consensus in the literature about how the speaker judgments in fact pattern. Consequently there is little agreement on what exactly a semantics and pragmatics for epistemic modals should predict about the pattern of judgments in these cases. Further theorizing requires greater clarity on the data to be explained. To clarify the data, we subjected eavesdropping and retraction cases to experimental evaluation. Our data provide evidence against the claim that competent speakers tend to judge a present-tense bare epistemic possibility claim true only if the prejacent is compatible with their information. Theories designed to predict this result are accordingly undermined. (shrink)
Imagination plays a rich epistemic role in our cognitive lives. For example, if I want to learn whether my luggage will fit into the overhead compartment on a plane, I might imagine trying to fit it into the overhead compartment and form a justified belief on the basis of this imagining. But what explains the fact that imagination has the power to justify beliefs, and what is the structure of imaginative justification? In this paper, I answer these questions by arguing (...) that imaginings manifest an epistemic status: they are epistemically evaluable as justified or unjustified. This epistemic status grounds their ability to justify beliefs, and they accrue this status in virtue of being based on evidence. Thus, imaginings are best understood as justified justifiers. I argue for this view by way of showing how it offers a satisfying explanation of certain key features of imaginative justification that would otherwise be puzzling. I also argue that imaginings exhibit a number of markers of the basing relation, which further motivates the view that imaginings can be based on evidence. The arguments in this paper have theoretically fruitful implications not only for the epistemology of imagination, but for accounts of reasoning and epistemic normativity more generally. (shrink)
Our interest in this paper is to drive a wedge of contention between two different programs that fall under the umbrella of “experimental philosophy”. In particular, we argue that experimental philosophy’s “negative program” presents almost as significant a challenge to its “positive program” as it does to more traditional analytic philosophy.
Necessarily, if S lacks the ability to exercise control, S is not an agent. If S is not an agent, S cannot act intentionally, responsibly, or rationally, nor can S possess or exercise free will. In spite of the obvious importance of control, however, no general account of control exists. In this paper I reflect on the nature of control itself. I develop accounts of control ’s exercise and control ’s possession that illuminate what it is for degrees of control (...) —that is, the degree of control an agent possesses or exercises in a given circumstance—to vary. Finally, I demonstrate the usefulness of the account on offer by showing how it generates a solution to a long-standing problem for causalist theories of action, namely, the problem of deviant causation. (shrink)
Shepard has argued that a universal law should govern generalization across different domains of perception and cognition, as well as across organisms from different species or even different planets. Starting with some basic assumptions about natural kinds, he derived an exponential decay function as the form of the universal generalization gradient, which accords strikingly well with a wide range of empirical data. However, his original formulation applied only to the ideal case of generalization from a single encountered stimulus to a (...) single novel stimulus, and for stimuli that can be represented as points in a continuous metric psychological space. Here we recast Shepard's theory in a more general Bayesian framework and show how this naturally extends his approach to the more realistic situation of generalizing from multiple consequential stimuli with arbitrary representational structure. Our framework also subsumes a version of Tversky's set-theoretic model of similarity, which is conventionally thought of as the primary alternative to Shepard's continuous metric space model of similarity and generalization. This unification allows us not only to draw deep parallels between the set-theoretic and spatial approaches, but also to significantly advance the explanatory power of set-theoretic models. Key Words: additive clustering; Bayesian inference; categorization; concept learning; contrast model; features; generalization; psychological space; similarity. (shrink)
We are reliable about logic in the sense that we by-and-large believe logical truths and disbelieve logical falsehoods. Given that logic is an objective subject matter, it is difficult to provide a satisfying explanation of our reliability. This generates a significant epistemological challenge, analogous to the well-known Benacerraf-Field problem for mathematical Platonism. One initially plausible way to answer the challenge is to appeal to evolution by natural selection. The central idea is that being able to correctly deductively reason conferred a (...) heritable survival advantage upon our ancestors. However, there are several arguments that purport to show that evolutionary accounts cannot even in principle explain how it is that we are reliable about logic. In this paper, I address these arguments. I show that there is no general reason to think that evolutionary accounts are incapable of explaining our reliability about logic. (shrink)
We think of logic as objective. We also think that we are reliable about logic. These views jointly generate a puzzle: How is it that we are reliable about logic? How is it that our logical beliefs match an objective domain of logical fact? This is an instance of a more general challenge to explain our reliability about a priori domains. In this paper, I argue that the nature of this challenge has not been properly understood. I explicate the challenge (...) both in general and for the particular case of logic. I also argue that two seemingly attractive responses – appealing to a faculty of rational insight or to the nature of concept possession – are incapable of answering the challenge. (shrink)
At least since the middle of the twentieth century, philosophers have tended to identify weakness of will with akrasia—i.e. acting, or having a disposition to act, contrary to one‘s judgments about what is best for one to do. However, there has been some recent debate about whether this captures the ordinary notion of weakness of will. Richard Holton (1999, 2009) claims that it doesn’t, while Alfred Mele (2010) argues that, to a certain extent, it does. As Mele recognizes, the question (...) about an ordinary concept here is one apt for empirical investigation. We evaluate Mele’s studies and report some experiments of our own in order to investigate what in the world the ordinary concept of weakness of will is. We conclude that neither Mele nor Holton (previously) was quite right and offer a tentative proposal of our own: the ordinary notion is more like a prototype or cluster concept whose application is affected by a variety of factors. (shrink)
This chapter argues that epistemic uses of the imagination are a sui generis form of reasoning. The argument proceeds in two steps. First, there are imaginings which instantiate the epistemic structure of reasoning. Second, reasoning with imagination is not reducible to reasoning with doxastic states. Thus, the epistemic role of the imagination is that it is a distinctive way of reasoning out what follows from our prior evidence. This view has a number of important implications for the epistemology of the (...) imagination. For one thing, it clarifies the epistemic role of widely invoked “constraints” on the imagination. For another, it highlights important and underappreciated disanalogies between how perceptual experiences and imaginings justify beliefs. Ultimately, the view that we can reason with imagination offers an illuminating and theoretically fruitful framework through which to understand the epistemic structure of the imagination. (shrink)
It seems obvious that phenomenally conscious experience is something of great value, and that this value maps onto a range of important ethical issues. For example, claims about the value of life for those in a permanent vegetative state, debates about treatment and study of disorders of consciousness, controversies about end-of-life care for those with advanced dementia, and arguments about the moral status of embryos, fetuses, and non-human animals arguably turn on the moral significance of various facts about consciousness. However, (...) though work has been done on the moral significance of elements of consciousness, such as pain and pleasure, little explicit attention has been devoted to the ethical significance of consciousness. In this book Joshua Shepherd presents a systematic account of the value present within conscious experience. This account emphasizes not only the nature of consciousness, but the importance of items within experience such as affect, valence, and the complex overall shape of particular valuable experiences. Shepherd also relates this account to difficult cases involving non-humans and those with disorders of consciousness, arguing that the value of consciousness influences and partially explains the degree of moral status a being possesses, without fully determining it. The upshot is a deeper understanding of both the moral importance of phenomenal consciousness and its relations to moral status. This book will be of great interest to philosophers and students of ethics, bioethics, philosophy of psychology, philosophy of mind and cognitive science. (shrink)
This essay tries to show that there exist several passages where Kierkegaard (and his pseudonyms) sketches an argument for the existence of God and immortality that is remarkably similar to Kant's so-called moral argument for the existence of God and immortality. In particular, Kierkegaard appears to follow Kant's moral argument both when it comes to the form and content of the argument as well as some of its terminology. The essay concludes that several passages in Kierkegaard overlap significantly with Kant's (...) moral argument, although Kierkegaard ultimately favors revealed faith over natural theology in general and Kant's moral faith in particular. Whereas Kant uses the moral argument to postulate the existence of God and immortality, Kierkegaard mainly uses it as a reductio ad absurdum of non-religious thinking. (shrink)
Consider the following explanation: (1) George took his umbrella because it was just about to rain. This is an explanation of a quite distinctive sort. It is profoundly different from the sort of explanation we might use to explain, say, the movements of a bouncing ball or the gradual rise of the tide on a beach. Unlike these other types of explanations, it explains an agent’s behavior by describing the agent’s own _reasons_ for performing that behavior. Explanations that work in (...) this way have a number of distinctive and important properties, and we will refer to them here as _reason explanations_. Looking at the use of reason explanations with a philosophical eye, one is apt to experience a certain puzzlement. One wants to know precisely what makes a given reason explanation true or false. So, for example, the explanation given above seems to be saying that George’s reason for taking his umbrella was that it was just about to rain. But what exactly makes it the case that this is George’s reason? Does he have to actually be. (shrink)
Drawing on the writings of the Jewish thinker, Abraham Joshua Heschel, I defend a partial response to the problem of divine hiddenness. A Jewish approach to divine love includes the thought that God desires meaningful relationship not only with individual persons, but also with communities of persons. In combination with John Schellenberg’s account of divine love, the admission of God’s desire for such relationships makes possible that a person may fail to believe that God exists not because of any (...) individual failing, but because the individual is a member of a larger community that itself is culpable. (shrink)
This article tries to make sense of the concept of the highest good (eternal bliss) in Søren Kierkegaard by comparing it to the analysis of the highest good found in Immanuel Kant. The comparison with Kant’s more systematic analysis helps us clarify the meaning and importance of the concept in Kierkegaard as well as to shed new light on the conceptual relation between Kant and Kierkegaard. The article argues that the concept of the highest good is of systematic importance in (...) Kierkegaard, although previous research has tended to overlook this, no doubt due to Kierkegaard’s cryptic use of the concept. It is argued that Kierkegaard’s concept of the highest good is much closer to Kant’s than what previous research has indicated. In particular, Kant and Kierkegaard see the highest good not only as comprising of virtue and happiness (bliss), but also as being the Kingdom of God. (shrink)
Joshua Gert presents an original account of color properties, and of our perception of them. He employs a general philosophical strategy - neo-pragmatism - which challenges an assumption made by virtually all other theories of color: he argues that colors are primitive properties of objects, irreducible to physical or dispositional properties.
Since the publication of Timothy Williamson’s Knowledge and its Limits, knowledge-first epistemology has become increasingly influential within epistemology. This paper discusses the viability of the knowledge-first program. The paper has two main parts. In the first part, I briefly present knowledge-first epistemology as well as several big picture reasons for concern about this program. While this considerations are pressing, I concede, however, that they are not conclusive. To determine the viability of knowledge-first epistemology will require philosophers to carefully evaluate the (...) individual theses endorsed by knowledge-first epistemologists as well as to compare it with alternative packages of views. In the second part of the paper, I contribute to this evaluation by considering a specific thesis endorsed by many knowledge-first epistemologists – the knowledge norm of assertion. According to this norm, roughly speaking, one should assert that p only if one knows that p. I present and motivate this thesis. I then turn to a familiar concern with the norm: In many cases, it is intuitively appropriate for someone who has a strongly justified belief that p, but who doesn't know that p, to assert that p. Proponents of the knowledge norm of assertion typically explain away our judgments about such cases by arguing that the relevant assertion is improper but that the subject has an excuse and is therefore not blameworthy for making the assertion. I argue that that this response does not work. In many of the problem cases, it is not merely that the subject’s assertion is blameless. Rather, the subject positively ought to make the assertion. Appealing to an excuse cannot be used to adequately explain this fact. (Nor can we explain this fact by appealing to some other, quite different, consideration.) Finally, I conclude by briefly considering whether we should replace the knowledge norm of assertion with an alternative norm. I argue that the most plausible view is that there is no norm specifically tied to assertion. (shrink)