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Selfless assertions: some empirical evidence

Synthese 192 (4):1221-1233 (2015)

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  1. Assertion.Peter Pagin & Neri Marsili - 2021 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Asserting is the act of claiming that something is the case—for instance, that oranges are citruses, or that there is a traffic congestion on Brooklyn Bridge (at some time). We make assertions to share information, coordinate our actions, defend arguments, and communicate our beliefs and desires. Because of its central role in communication, assertion has been investigated in several disciplines. Linguists, philosophers of language, and logicians rely heavily on the notion of assertion in theorizing about meaning, truth and inference. -/- (...)
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  • Norms of Public Argumentation and the Ideals of Correctness and Participation.Frank Zenker, Jan Albert van Laar, B. Cepollaro, A. Gâţă, M. Hinton, C. G. King, B. Larson, M. Lewiński, C. Lumer, S. Oswald, M. Pichlak, B. D. Scott, M. Urbański & J. H. M. Wagemans - 2024 - Argumentation 38 (1):7-40.
    Argumentation as the public exchange of reasons is widely thought to enhance deliberative interactions that generate and justify reasonable public policies. Adopting an argumentation-theoretic perspective, we survey the norms that should govern public argumentation and address some of the complexities that scholarly treatments have identified. Our focus is on norms associated with the ideals of correctness and participation as sources of a politically legitimate deliberative outcome. In principle, both ideals are mutually coherent. If the information needed for a correct deliberative (...)
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  • P, but you don’t know that P.Christopher Willard-Kyle - 2021 - Synthese 199 (5-6):14667-14690.
    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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  • Assertion remains strong.Peter van Elswyk & Matthew A. Benton - 2023 - Philosophical Studies 180 (1):27-50.
    Assertion is widely regarded as an act associated with an epistemic position. To assert is to represent oneself as occupying this position and/or to be required to occupy this position. Within this approach, the most common view is that assertion is strong: the associated position is knowledge or certainty. But recent challenges to this common view present new data that are argued to be better explained by assertion being weak. Old data widely taken to support assertion being strong has also (...)
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  • Understanding and the Norm of Explanation.John Turri - 2015 - Philosophia 43 (4):1171-1175.
    I propose and defend the hypothesis that understanding is the norm of explanation. On this proposal, an explanation should express understanding. I call this the understanding account of explanation. The understanding account is supported by social and introspective observations. It is also supported by the relationship between knowledge and understanding, on the one hand, and assertion and explanation, on the other.
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  • The point of assertion is to transmit knowledge.John Turri - 2016 - Analysis 76 (2):130-136.
    Recent work in philosophy and cognitive science shows that knowledge is the norm of our social practice of assertion, in the sense that an assertion should express knowledge. But why should an assertion express knowledge? I hypothesize that an assertion should express knowledge because the point of assertion is to transmit knowledge. I present evidence supporting this hypothesis.
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  • Knowledge and assertion in “Gettier” cases.John Turri - 2016 - Philosophical Psychology 29 (5):759-775.
    Assertion is fundamental to our lives as social and cognitive beings. By asserting we share knowledge, coordinate behavior, and advance collective inquiry. Accordingly, assertion is of considerable interest to cognitive scientists, social scientists, and philosophers. This paper advances our understanding of the norm of assertion. Prior evidence suggests that knowledge is the norm of assertion, a view known as “the knowledge account.” In its strongest form, the knowledge account says that knowledge is both necessary and sufficient for assertability: you should (...)
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  • Knowledge Attributions and Behavioral Predictions.John Turri - 2017 - Cognitive Science:2253-2261.
    Recent work has shown that knowledge attributions affect how people think others should behave, more so than belief attributions do. This paper reports two experiments providing evidence that knowledge attributions also affect behavioral predictions more strongly than belief attributions do, and knowledge attributions facilitate faster behavioral predictions than belief attributions do. Thus, knowledge attributions play multiple critical roles in social cognition, guiding judgments about how people should and will behave.
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  • Knowledge, certainty, and assertion.John Turri - 2016 - Philosophical Psychology 29 (2):293-299.
    Researchers have debated whether knowledge or certainty is a better candidate for the norm of assertion. Should you make an assertion only if you know it's true? Or should you make an assertion only if you're certain it's true? If either knowledge or certainty is a better candidate, then this will likely have detectable behavioral consequences. I report an experiment that tests for relevant behavioral consequences. The results support the view that assertability is more closely linked to knowledge than to (...)
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  • Experimental work on the norms of assertion.John Turri - 2017 - Philosophy Compass 12 (7):e12425.
    Communication is essential to human society, and assertion is central to communication. This article reviews evidence from life science, cognitive science, and philosophy relevant to understanding how our social practice of assertion is structured and sustained. The principal conclusion supported by this body of evidence is that knowledge is a central norm of assertion—that is, according to the rules of the practice, assertions should express knowledge.
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  • Evidence of factive norms of belief and decision.John Turri - 2015 - Synthese 192 (12):4009-4030.
    According to factive accounts of the norm of belief and decision-making, you should not believe or base decisions on a falsehood. Even when the evidence misleadingly suggests that a false proposition is true, you should not believe it or base decisions on it. Critics claim that factive accounts are counterintuitive and badly mischaracterize our ordinary practice of evaluating beliefs and decisions. This paper reports four experiments that rigorously test the critic’s accusations and the viability of factive accounts. The results undermine (...)
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  • Selfless assertions and the Knowledge Norm.Nicholas Tebben - 2020 - Synthese (12):1-20.
    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 (...)
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  • Selfless assertions and the Knowledge Norm.Nicholas Tebben - 2021 - Synthese 198 (12):11755-11774.
    If a speaker selflessly asserts that p, the speaker (1) has good evidence that p is true, (2) asserts that p on the basis of that evidence, but (3) 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 (...)
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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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  • Should I say that? An experimental investigation of the norm of assertion.Neri Marsili & Alex Wiegmann - 2021 - Cognition 212 (C):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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  • Group Assertions and Group Lies.Neri Marsili - 2023 - Topoi 42 (2):369-384.
    Groups, like individuals, can communicate. They can issue statements, make promises, give advice. Sometimes, in doing so, they lie and deceive. The goal of this paper is to offer a precise characterisation of what it means for a group to make an assertion and to lie. I begin by showing that Lackey’s influential account of group assertion is unable to distinguish assertions from other speech acts, explicit statements from implicatures, and lying from misleading. I propose an alternative view, according to (...)
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  • Epistemic Norms for Public Political Arguments.Christoph Lumer - 2024 - Argumentation 38 (1):63-83.
    The aim of the article is to develop precise epistemic rules for good public political arguments, by which political measures in the broad sense are justified. By means of a theory of deliberative democracy, it is substantiated that the justification of a political measure consists in showing argumentatively that this measure most promotes the common good or is morally optimal. It is then discussed which argumentation-theoretical approaches are suitable for providing epistemically sound rules for arguments for such theses and for (...)
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  • Criticism and Blame in Action and Assertion.Christoph Kelp & Mona Simion - 2017 - Journal of Philosophy 114 (2):76-93.
    In this paper, we develop a general normative framework for criticisability, blamelessness and blameworthiness in action. We then turn to the debate on norms of assertion. We show that an application of this framework enables champions of the so-called knowledge rule of assertion to offer a theoretically motivated response to a number of putative counterexamples in terms of blamelessness. Finally, we argue that, on closer inspection, the putative counterexamples serve to confirm the knowledge rule and disconfirm rival views.
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  • Questioning and addressee knowledge.Eliran Haziza - 2023 - Synthese 201 (4):1-23.
    There are norms for asking questions. Inquirers should not ask questions to which they know the answer. The literature on the norms of asking has focused on such speaker-centered norms. But, as I argue, there are addressee-centered norms as well: inquirers should not ask addressees who fall short of a certain epistemic status. That epistemic status, I argue here, is knowledge.
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  • Lying by explaining: an experimental study.Grzegorz Gaszczyk & Aleksandra Krogulska - 2024 - Synthese 203 (3):1-27.
    The widely accepted view states that an intention to deceive is not necessary for lying. Proponents of this view, the so-called non-deceptionists, argue that lies are simply insincere assertions. We conducted three experimental studies with false explanations, the results of which put some pressure on non-deceptionist analyses. We present cases of explanations that one knows are false and compare them with analogical explanations that differ only in having a deceptive intention. The results show that lay people distinguish between such false (...)
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  • Critique of Experimental Research on Selfless Assertions.Grzegorz Gaszczyk - 2019 - Diametros 16 (59):23-34.
    In this paper, I show that Turri’s (2015a) experimental study concerning selfless assertions is defective and should therefore be rejected. One performs a selfless assertion when one states something that one does not believe, and hence does not know, despite possessing well supported evidence to the contrary. Following his experimental study, Turri argues that agents in fact both believe and know the content of their selfless assertions. In response to this claim, I demonstrate that the conclusions he draws are premature (...)
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  • Three Arguments against Constitutive Norm Accounts of Assertion.Matthew J. Cull - 2022 - Disputatio 14 (64):27-40.
    In this article I introduce constitutive norm accounts of assertion, and then give three arguments for giving up on the constitutive norm project. First I begin with an updated version of MacFarlane’s Boogling argument. My second argument is that the ‘overriding response’ that constitutive norm theorists offer to putative counterexamples is unpersuasive and dialectically risky. Third and finally, I suggest that constitutive norm theorists, in appealing to the analogy of games, actually undermine their case that they can make sense of (...)
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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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  • Opressões epistêmicas.Breno Ricardo Guimarães Santos - 2018 - In José Leonardo Annunziato Ruivo (ed.), Proceedings of the Brazilian Research Group in Epistemology. pp. 201-226.
    In this paper, I discuss some of the recent developments in the political turn of Social Epistemology, focusing on the notions of epistemic injustice and epistemic oppression. In the first part of the work, I introduce Kristie Dotson’s characterization of the epistemic injustices presented by Miranda Fricker, through the understanding of systematic ways of violating epistemic agency in terms of oppressions. In the second part, I discuss Dotson’s critique of Fricker on the grounds that there is an important kind of (...)
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  • Jörg Meibauer (Ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Lying (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019), pp. 689. [REVIEW]Vladimir Krstić - 2022 - Linguistische Berichte 270:225–236.
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  • Knowledge and the Norm of Assertion: An Essay in Philosophical Science.John Turri - 2016 - Cambridge: Open Book Publishers.
    Language is a human universal reflecting our deeply social nature. Among its essential functions, language enables us to quickly and efficiently share information. We tell each other that many things are true—that is, we routinely make assertions. Information shared this way plays a critical role in the decisions and plans we make. In Knowledge and the Norm of Assertion, a distinguished philosopher and cognitive scientist investigates the rules or norms that structure our social practice of assertion. Combining evidence from philosophy, (...)
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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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