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Assertion and the semantics of force-markers

In Claudia Bianchi (ed.), The Semantics/Pragmatics Distinction. CSLI Publications. pp. 133--166 (2004)

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  1. Scientific Conclusions Need Not Be Accurate, Justified, or Believed by Their Authors.Haixin Dang & Liam Kofi Bright - 2021 - Synthese:1-17.
    We argue that the main results of scientific papers may appropriately be published even if they are false, unjustified, and not believed to be true or justified by their author. To defend this claim we draw upon the literature studying the norms of assertion, and consider how they would apply if one attempted to hold claims made in scientific papers to their strictures, as assertions and discovery claims in scientific papers seem naturally analogous. We first use a case study of (...)
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  • Should I Say That? An Experimental Investigation of the Norm of Assertion.Neri Marsili & Alex Wiegmann - 2021 - Cognition 212:104657.
    Assertions are our standard communicative tool for sharing and acquiring information. Recent empirical studies seemingly provide converging evidence that assertions are subject to a factive norm: you are entitled to assert a proposition p only if p is true. All these studies, however, assume that we can treat participants' judgments about what an agent 'should say' as evidence of their intuitions about assertability. This paper argues that this assumption is incorrect, so that the conclusions drawn in these studies are unwarranted. (...)
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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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  • P, but You Don't Know That P.Christopher Willard-Kyle - forthcoming - Synthese.
    Unlike first-person Moorean sentences, it’s not always awkward to assert, 'p, but you don’t know that p.' This can seem puzzling: after all, one can never get one’s audience to know the asserted content by speaking thus. Nevertheless, such assertions can be conversationally useful, for instance, by helping speaker and addressee agree on where to disagree. I will argue that such assertions also make trouble for the growing family of views about the norm of assertion that what licenses proper assertion (...)
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  • Being in a Position to Know is the Norm of Assertion.Christopher Willard-Kyle - 2020 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 101 (2):328-352.
    This paper defends a new norm of assertion: Assert that p only if you are in a position to know that p. We test the norm by judging its performance in explaining three phenomena that appear jointly inexplicable at first: Moorean paradoxes, lottery propositions, and selfless assertions. The norm succeeds by tethering unassertability to unknowability while untethering belief from assertion. The PtK‐norm foregrounds the public nature of assertion as a practice that can be other‐regarding, allowing asserters to act in the (...)
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  • The Norm of Assertion: A ‘Constitutive’ Rule?Neri Marsili - 2019 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy:1-22.
    According to an influential hypothesis, the speech act of assertion is subject to a single 'constitutive' rule, that takes the form: "One must: assert that p only if p has C". Scholars working on assertion interpret the assumption that this rule is 'constitutive' in different ways. This disagreement, often unacknowledged, threatens the foundations of the philosophical debate on assertion. This paper reviews different interpretations of the claim that assertion is governed by a constitutive rule. It argues that once we understand (...)
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  • Hypocritical Blame: A Question for the Normative Accounts of Assertion.Ivan Milić - 2020 - Philosophia 48 (4):1543-1549.
    An agent A blames B hypocritically for violating a moral norm N if and only if: A is likewise blameworthy for violating N, and A is not disposed to blame herself for violating N. Normally, an assertion involving blame is retracted following the objection that and hold. I discuss two prima facie explanations for such a withdrawal: that the objection hampers the speaker’s assertoric authority, rendering and the necessary condition to assert, and that the joint condition is, instead, merely a (...)
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  • Against Selfless Assertions.Ivan Milić - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (9):2277-2295.
    Lackey’s (2007) class of “selfless assertions” is controversial in at least two respects: it allows propositions that express Moorean absurdity to be asserted warrantedly, and it challenges the orthodox view that the speaker’s belief is a necessary condition for warranted assertibility. With regard to the former point, I critically examine Lackey’s broadly Gricean treatment of Moorean absurdity and McKinnon’s (2015) epistemic approach. With regard to the latter point, I defend the received view by supporting the knowledge account, on which knowledge (...)
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  • Problems with Norms of Assertion.Peter Pagin - 2016 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 93 (1):178-207.
    In this paper I draw attention to a number of problems that afflict norm accounts of assertion, i.e. accounts that explain what assertion is, and typically how speakers understand what assertion is, by appeal to a norm of assertion. I argue that the disagreements in the literature over norm selection undermines such an account of understanding. I also argue that the treatment of intuitions as evidence in the literature undermines much of the connection to empirical evidence. I further argue that (...)
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  • Faultless Disagreement, Assertions and the Affective-Expressive Dimension of Judgments of Taste.Filip Buekens - 2011 - Philosophia 39 (4):637-655.
    Contextualists and assessment relativists neglect the expressive dimension of assertoric discourse that seems to give rise to faultless disagreement. Discourse that generates the intuition makes public an attitudinal conflict, and the affective -expressive dimension of the contributing utterances accounts for it. The FD-phenomenon is an effect of a public dispute generated by a sequence of expressing opposite attitudes towards a salient object or state of affairs, where the protagonists are making an attempt to persuade the other side into joining the (...)
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  • Are Explicit Performatives Assertions?Mark Jary - 2007 - Linguistics and Philosophy 30 (2):207 - 234.
    This paper contributes to the study of explicit performative utterances in the following ways. First, it presents arguments that support Austin’s view that these utterances are not assertions. In doing so, it offers an original explanation of why they cannot be true or false. Second, it puts forward a new analysis of explicit performatives as cases of showing performing, rather than of instances of asserting or declaring that one is performing a particular act. Finally, it develops a new account of (...)
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  • Bivalence and What is Said.Manuel García-Carpintero - 2007 - Dialectica 61 (1):167–190.
    On standard versions of supervaluationism, truth is equated with supertruth, and does not satisfy bivalence: some truth-bearers are neither true nor false. In this paper I want to confront a well-known worry about this, recently put by Wright as follows: ‘The downside . . . rightly emphasized by Williamson . . . is the implicit surrender of the T-scheme’. I will argue that such a cost is not high: independently motivated philosophical distinctions support the surrender of the T- scheme, and (...)
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  • The Mill-Frege Theory of Proper Names.Manuel García-Carpintero - 2018 - Mind 127 (508):1107-1168.
    This paper argues for a version of metalinguistic descriptivism, the Mill-Frege view, comparing it to a currently popular alternative, predicativism. The Mill-Frege view combines tenets of Fregean views with features of the theory of direct reference. According to it, proper names have metalinguistic senses, known by competent speakers on the basis of their competence, which figure in ancillary presuppositions. In support of the view the paper argues that the name-bearing relation—which predicativists cite to account for the properties that they take (...)
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  • Literal Force : A Defence of Conventional Assertion.Max Kölbel - 2009 - In Sarah Sawyer (ed.), New Waves in Philosophy of Language. Palgrave-Macmillan.
    The aim of this paper is to motivate and defend a conventional approach to assertion and other illocutionary acts. Such an approach takes assertions, questions and orders to be moves within an essentially rule-governed activity similar to a game. The most controversial aspect of a conventional account of assertion is that according to it, for classifying an utterance as an assertion, question or command, “it is irrelevant what intentions the person speaking may have had” (Dummett 1973, p. 302). I understand (...)
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  • Cognition and Content.João Branquinho - 2005 - Lisboa, Portugal: Centro de Filosofia da Universidade de Lisboa.
    Os tópicos e problemas filosóficos discutidos no volume são de natureza bastante variada: a natureza da complexidade computacional no processamento de uma língua natural; a relação entre o significado linguístico e o sentido Fregeano; as conexões entre a a agência e o poder; o conteúdo semântico da ficção; a explicação dos impasses éticos; a natureza dos argumentos cépticos; as conexões entre as dissociações cognitivas e o carácter modular da mente; a relação entre a referência e o significado. Estes tópicos deixam-se (...)
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  • The Explanation Proffering Norm of Moral Assertion.Mona Simion - 2018 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 21 (3):477-488.
    In recent years, much attention has been given to the epistemic credentials of belief based on moral testimony. Some people think pure moral deference is wrong, others disagree. It comes as a surprise, however, that while the epistemic responsibilities of the receiver of moral testimony have been closely scrutinized, little to no discussion has focused on the epistemic duties of the speaker. This paper aims to supply this lack: it defends a function-first account of the normativity of moral assertion. According (...)
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  • Dubious Assertions.David Sosa - 2008 - Philosophical Studies 146 (2):269 - 272.
    The knowledge account of assertion—roughly: one should not assert what one does not know—aspires to identify the norm distinctive of assertion. One main argument given in support of the knowledge account has been the success with which it explains a variety of Moore-paradoxical assertion. But that explanation does not generalize satisfactorily.
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  • Recent Work on Assertion.Sanford C. Goldberg - 2015 - American Philosophical Quarterly 52 (4):365-380.
    This paper reviews recent philosophical work on assertion, with a special focus on work exploring the theme of assertion's norm. It concludes with a brief section characterizing several open questions that might profitably be explored from this perspective.
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  • Meaning and Emotion.Constant Bonard - 2021 - Dissertation, Université de Genève
    This dissertation may be divided into two parts. The first part is about the Extended Gricean Model of information transmission. This model, introduced here, is meant to better explain how humans communicate and understand each other. It has been developed to apply to cases that were left unexplained by the two main models of communication found in contemporary philosophy and linguistics, i.e. the Gricean model and the code model. In particular, I show that these latter two models cannot apply to (...)
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  • Assertion and Testimony.Edward Hinchman - 2020 - In Sanford Goldberg (ed.), Oxford Handbook of Assertion. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    [The version of this paper published by Oxford online in 2019 was not copy-edited and has some sense-obscuring typos. I have posted a corrected (but not the final published) version on this site. The version published in print in 2020 has these corrections.] Which is more fundamental, assertion or testimony? Should we understand assertion as basic, treating testimony as what you get when you add an interpersonal addressee? Or should we understand testimony as basic, treating mere assertion -- assertion without (...)
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  • Pretense, Cancellation, and the Act Theory of Propositions.Manuel García-Carpintero - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    Several philosophers advance substantive theories of propositions, to deal with several issues they raise in connection with a concern with a long pedigree in philosophy, the problem of the unity of propositions. The qualification ‘substantive’ is meant to contrast with ‘minimal’ or ‘deflationary’ – roughly, views that reject that propositions have a hidden nature, worth investigating. Substantive views appear to create spurious problems by characterizing propositions in ways that make them unfit to perform their theoretical jobs. I will present in (...)
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  • Group Testimony: Defending a Reductionist View.Domingos Faria - 2020 - Logos and Episteme: An International Journal of Epistemology 11 (3):283-304.
    Our aim in this paper is to defend the reductionist (or deflationist) view on group testimony from the attacks of divergence arguments. We will begin by presenting how divergence arguments can challenge the reductionist view. However, we will argue that these arguments are not decisive to rule out the reductionist view; for, these arguments have false premises, assuming dubious epistemic principles that testimony cannot generate knowledge and understanding. The final part of this paper will be devoted to presenting the advantages (...)
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  • Surprising Suspensions: The Epistemic Value of Being Ignorant.Christopher Willard-Kyle - 2021 - Dissertation, Rutgers University - New Brunswick
    Knowledge is good, ignorance is bad. So it seems, anyway. But in this dissertation, I argue that some ignorance is epistemically valuable. Sometimes, we should suspend judgment even though by believing we would achieve knowledge. In this apology for ignorance (ignorance, that is, of a certain kind), I defend the following four theses: 1) Sometimes, we should continue inquiry in ignorance, even though we are in a position to know the answer, in order to achieve more than mere knowledge (e.g. (...)
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  • Social Ontology.Brian Epstein - 2018 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Social ontology is the study of the nature and properties of the social world. It is concerned with analyzing the various entities in the world that arise from social interaction. -/- A prominent topic in social ontology is the analysis of social groups. Do social groups exist at all? If so, what sorts of entities are they, and how are they created? Is a social group distinct from the collection of people who are its members, and if so, how is (...)
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  • The Reflexivity of Explicit Performatives.Cristina Corredor - 2009 - Theoria: Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia 24 (3):283-299.
    The aim of this contribution is to propose a natural implementation of the reflexive-referential theory advanced by Perry 2001 that aims at accounting for the reflexive character of explicit performative utterances. This is accomplished by introducing a reflexive-performative constraint on explicit performatives.
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  • The Function of Assertion and Social Norms.Peter Graham - 2020 - In Sanford Goldberg (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Assertion. New York, USA: Oxford University Press. pp. 727-748.
    A proper function of an entity is a beneficial effect that helps explain the persistence of the entity. Proper functions thereby arise through feedback mechanisms with beneficial effects as inputs and persistence as outputs. We continue to make assertions because they benefit speakers by benefiting speakers. Hearers benefit from true information. Speakers benefit by influencing hearer belief. If hearers do not benefit, they will not form beliefs in response to assertions. Speakers can then only maintain influence by providing true information, (...)
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  • Contexts as Shared Commitments.Manuel García-Carpintero - 2015 - Frontiers in Psychology 6.
    Contemporary semantics assumes two influential notions of context: one coming from Kaplan (1989), on which contexts are sets of predetermined parameters, and another originating in Stalnaker (1978), on which contexts are sets of propositions that are “common ground”. The latter is deservedly more popular, given its flexibility in accounting for context-dependent aspects of language beyond manifest indexicals, such as epistemic modals, predicates of taste, and so on and so forth; in fact, properly dealing with demonstratives (perhaps ultimately all indexicals) requires (...)
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  • Assertion and Convention.Mitchell Green - 2020 - In Sanford Goldberg (ed.), Oxford Handbook of Assertion.
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  • Recanati on the Semantics/Pragmatics Distinction.Manuel García-Carpintero - 2006 - Critica 38 (112):35-68.
    One of the hottest philosophical debates in recent years concerns the nature of the semantics/pragmatics divide. Some writers have expressed the reserve that this might be merely terminological, but in my view it ultimately concerns a substantive issue with empirical implications: the scope and limits of a serious scientific undertaking, formal semantics. In this critical note I discuss two arguments by Recanati: his main methodological argument --viz. that the contents posited by what he calls 'literalists' play no relevant role in (...)
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  • Asserting as Commitment to Knowing. An Essay on the Normativity of Assertion.Ivan Milić - 2015 - Dissertation, University of Barcelona
    In this thesis, I propose and defend a theory according to which committing oneself to knowing the proposition expressed counts as an assertion of that proposition. A consequence of this view is the knowledge account of assertion, according to which one asserts that p correctly only if one knows that p. In support of this approach, I offer a strategy of identifying an assertion’s “normative consequences”, types of act that normally take place as a result of one’s making an assertion (...)
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  • Assertion.Peter Pagin - 2015 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    An assertion is a speech act in which something is claimed to hold, e.g. that there are infinitely many prime numbers, or, with respect to some time t, that there is a traffic congestion on Brooklyn Bridge at t, or, of some person x with respect to some time t, that x has a tooth ache at t. The concept of assertion has often occupied a central place in the philosophy of language, since it is often thought that making assertions (...)
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  • Foundational Semantics II: Normative Accounts.Manuel Garcı´A.-Carpintero - unknown
    Descriptive semantic theories purport to characterize the meanings of the expressions of languages in whatever complexity they might have. Foundational semantics purports to identify the kind of considerations relevant to establish that a given descriptive semantics accurately characterizes the language used by a given individual or community. Foundational Semantics I presents three contrasting approaches to the foundational matters, and the main considerations relevant to appraise their merits. These approaches contend that we should look at the contents of speakers’ intuitions; at (...)
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  • A Note on Existentially Known Assertions.Ivan Milić - 2015 - Philosophical Quarterly 65 (261):813-821.
    An assertion is existentially known if and only if: (i) the speaker knows that the sentence she uses to make the assertion expresses a true proposition; (ii) she makes the assertion based on that knowledge; and (iii) she does not believe, have justification for, or know the proposition asserted. Accordingly, if existentially known assertions could be made correctly—as argued by Charlie Pelling in his ‘Assertion and the Provision of Knowledge’—this would show that the norm of assertion cannot be the speaker's (...)
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