Authentic Speech and Insincerity

Journal of Philosophy:1-29 (forthcoming)
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Many theorists assume that a request is sincere if the speaker wants the addressee to perform the act requested. I argue that this assumption predicts an implausible mismatch between sincere assertions and sincere directives and needs to be revised. I present an alternative view, according to which directive utterances can only be sincere if they are self-directed. Other-directed directives, however, can be genuine or fake, depending on whether the speaker wants the addressee to perform the act in question. Finally, I argue that this new perspective opens the door to a satisfying theory of authentic expression, for both assertive and directive utterances. Authenticity consists in the combination of genuine and sincere speech, for example, in the case of assertion, when speakers assert something which they both believe (sincerity) and want the addressee to believe (genuineness).

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Elmar Unnsteinsson
University College Dublin


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