Directing Thought

Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy (forthcoming)
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I argue that directing is a more fundamental kind of speech act than asserting, in the sense that the conditions under which an act counts as an assertion are sufficient for that act to count as a directive. I show how this follows from a particular way of conceiving intentionalism about speech acts, on which acts of assertion are attempts at changing a common body of information – or conversational common ground – maintained by conversational participants’ practical attitude of acceptance. I suggest that the function of assertion is not to share information, but to signal that we can be relied on to act as though some information is true, and to foster that same reliability in others.

Author's Profile

Henry Ian Schiller
University of Sheffield


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