Group assertion and group silencing

Language & Communication 1 (70):28-37 (2020)
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Abstract

Jennifer Lackey (2018) has developed an account of the primary form of group assertion, according to which groups assert when a suitably authorized spokesperson speaks for the group. In this paper I pose a challenge for Lackey's account, arguing that her account obscures the phenomenon of group silencing. This is because, in contrast to alternative approaches that view assertions (and speech acts generally) as social acts, Lackey's account implies that speakers can successfully assert regardless of how their utterances are taken up by their audiences. What reflection on group silencing shows us, I argue, is that an adequate account of group assertion needs to find a place for audience uptake.

Author's Profile

Leo Townsend
University of Vienna

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