Moore's Paradox and Assertion

In Goldberg Sanford (ed.), Oxford Handbook on Assertion. Oxford University Press (2020)
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Abstract

If I were to say, “Agnes does not know that it is raining, but it is,” this seems like a perfectly coherent way of describing Agnes’s epistemic position. If I were to add, “And I don’t know if it is, either,” this seems quite strange. In this chapter, we shall look at some statements that seem, in some sense, contradictory, even though it seems that these statements can express propositions that are contingently true or false. Moore thought it was paradoxical that statements that can express true propositions or contingently false propositions should nevertheless seem absurd like this. If we can account for the absurdity, we shall solve Moore’s Paradox. In this chapter, we shall look at Moore’s proposals and more recent discussions of Moorean absurd thought and speech.

Author's Profile

Clayton Littlejohn
Australian Catholic University

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