The truth about assertion and retraction: A review of the empirical literature

In Alex Wiegmann (ed.), Lying, Fake News, and Bullshit. Bloomsbury (forthcoming)
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This chapter reviews empirical research on the rules governing assertion and retraction, with a focus on the normative role of truth. It examines whether truth is required for an assertion to be considered permissible, and whether there is an expectation that speakers retract statements that turn out to be false. Contrary to factive norms (such as the influential “knowledge norm”), empirical data suggests that there is no expectation that speakers only make true assertions. Additionally, contrary to truth-relativist accounts, there is no requirement for speakers to retract statements that are false at the context of assessment. We conclude by suggesting that truth still plays a crucial role in the evaluation of assertions: as a standard for evaluating their success, rather than permissibility.

Author Profiles

Markus Kneer
University of Graz
Neri Marsili
Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia


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