Knowledge Norms and Conversation

In Waldomiro Silva Filho (ed.), Epistemology of Conversation: First essays. Cham: Springer (forthcoming)
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Abstract: Might knowledge normatively govern conversations and not just their discrete constituent thoughts and (assertoric) actions? I answer yes, at least for a restricted class of conversations I call aimed conversations. On the view defended here, aimed conversations are governed by participatory know-how - viz., knowledge how to do what each interlocutor to the conversation shares a participatory intention to do by means of that conversation. In the specific case of conversations that are in the service of joint inquiry, the view defended is that interlocutors (A, B, ... n) must intentionally inquire together into whether p, by means of an aimed conversation X, only if A,B, ... n know how to use X to find out together whether p. The view is supported by considerations about instrumental rationality, shared intentionality, the epistemology of intentional action, as well as linguistic data.

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J. Adam Carter
University of Glasgow


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