Asking expresses a desire to know

Philosophical Quarterly (forthcoming)
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Abstract

A speaker’s use of a sentence does more than contribute a content to a conversation. It also expresses the speaker’s attitude. This essay is about which attitude or attitudes are expressed by using an interrogative sentence to ask a question. With reference to eight lines of data about how questions are circulated in conversation, it is argued that a desire to know the question’s answer(s) is expressed.

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Peter van Elswyk
Northwestern University

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