Assertion, Complexity, and Sincerity

Australasian Journal of Philosophy 93 (4):782-798 (2015)
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The target of this paper is the ‘simple’ knowledge account of assertion, according to which assertion is constituted by a single epistemic rule of the form ‘One must: assert p only if one knows p’. My aim is to argue that those who are attracted to a knowledge account of assertion should prefer what I call the ‘complex’ knowledge account, according to which assertion is constituted by a system of rules all of which are, taken together, constitutive of assertion. One of those rules—which, following John Searle, I call the ‘preparatory condition’—is of the form ‘One must: assert p only if one knows p.’ All else being equal, simple accounts are preferable to complex accounts. I argue in this paper that all else isn't equal. While the simple knowledge account provides an elegant explanation of certain data, it is hard to see how to integrate the simple knowledge account into a more general theory of illocutionary acts. Because the complex knowledge account avoids this objection whil..
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