Assertibility and Sensitivity

Acta Analytica 29 (1):99-117 (2014)
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Abstract
Epistemologists have proposed various norms of assertion to explain when a speaker is in an epistemic position to assert a proposition. In this article I propose a distinct necessary condition on assertibility: that a speaker should assert only what she sensitively believes, where a subject's belief is sensitive just in case the subject would not hold it if it were false. I argue that the Sensitivity Rule underwrites simple explanations for three key features of assertibility that pose explanatory challenges to other prominent proposals: the fact that assertibility is open under known entailment, the general impropriety of assertions that a lottery ticket has lost made purely on the basis of the speaker's knowledge of the odds, and the fact that assertibility varies widely with features of the conversational context. I close by considering three distinct roles the Sensitivity Rule might play in the overall theory of assertibility
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First archival date: 2019-09-21
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