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The Function of Assertion and Social Norms

In Sanford Goldberg (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Assertion. New York, USA: Oxford University Press. pp. 727-748 (2020)

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  1. Convention: A Philosophical Study.David Kellogg Lewis - 1969 - Cambridge, MA, USA: Wiley-Blackwell.
    _ Convention_ was immediately recognized as a major contribution to the subject and its significance has remained undiminished since its first publication in 1969. Lewis analyzes social conventions as regularities in the resolution of recurring coordination problems-situations characterized by interdependent decision processes in which common interests are at stake. Conventions are contrasted with other kinds of regularity, and conventions governing systems of communication are given special attention.
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  • Testimony: A Philosophical Study.C. A. J. Coady - 1992 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
    Our trust in the word of others is often dismissed as unworthy, because the illusory ideal of "autonomous knowledge" has prevailed in the debate about the nature of knowledge. Yet we are profoundly dependent on others for a vast amount of what any of us claim to know. Coady explores the nature of testimony in order to show how it might be justified as a source of knowledge, and uses the insights that he has developed to challenge certain widespread assumptions (...)
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  • Assertion: A Function First Account.Christoph9 Kelp - 2016 - Noûs 50 (2):411-442.
    This paper aims to develop a novel account of the normativity of assertion. Its core thesis is that assertion has an etiological epistemic function, viz. to generate knowledge in hearers. In conjunction with a general account of etiological functions and their normative import, it is argued that an assertion is epistemically good if and only if it has the disposition to generate knowledge in hearers. In addition, reason is provided to believe that it makes sense to regulate the practice of (...)
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  • To the Best of Our Knowledge: Social Expectations and Epistemic Normativity.Sanford C. Goldberg - 2018 - Oxford University Press.
    Sandford C. Goldberg puts forward a theory of epistemic normativity that is grounded in the things we properly expect of one another as epistemic subjects. This theory has far-reaching implications not only for the theory of epistemic normativity, but also for the nature of epistemic assessment itself.
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  • Knowledge as Acceptable Testimony.Steven L. Reynolds - 2017 - Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
    Standard philosophical explanations of the concept of knowledge invoke a personal goal of having true beliefs, and explain the other requirements for knowledge as indicating the best way to achieve that goal. In this highly original book, Steven L. Reynolds argues instead that the concept of knowledge functions to express a naturally developing kind of social control, a complex social norm, and that the main purpose of our practice of saying and thinking that people 'know' is to improve our system (...)
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  • The Reliability of Testimony.Peter J. Graham - 2000 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 61 (3):695-709.
    Are we entitled or justified in taking the word of others at face value? An affirmative answer to this question is associated with the views of Thomas Reid. Recently, C. A. J. Coady has defended a Reidian view in his impressive and influential book. Testimony: A Philosophical Study. His central and most Oliginal argument for his positions involves reflection upon the practice of giving and accepting reports, of making assertions and relying on the word of others. His argument purports to (...)
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  • Second-Hand Knowledge.Elizabeth Fricker - 2006 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 73 (3):592–618.
    We citizens of the 21st century live in a world where division of epistemic labour rules. Most of what we know we learned from the spoken or written word of others, and we depend in endless practical ways on the technological fruits of the dispersed knowledge of others—of which we often know almost nothing—in virtually every moment of our lives. Interest has been growing in recent years amongst philosophers, in the issues in epistemology raised by this fact. One issue concerns (...)
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  • Second-Hand Knowledge.Elizabeth Fricker - 2006 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 73 (3):592-618.
    We citizens of the 21st century live in a world where division of epistemic labour rules. Most of what we know we learned from the spoken or written word of others, and we depend in endless practical ways on the technological fruits of the dispersed knowledge of others—of which we often know almost nothing—in virtually every moment of our lives. Interest has been growing in recent years amongst philosophers, in the issues in epistemology raised by this fact. One issue concerns (...)
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  • An Evolutionary Perspective on Testimony and Argumentation.Dan Sperber - 2001 - Philosophical Topics 29 (1/2):401-413.
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  • Does Justification Aim at Truth?Peter J. Graham - 2011 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 41 (1):51-72.
    Does epistemic justification aim at truth? The vast majority of epistemologists instinctively answer 'Yes'; it's the textbook response. Joseph Cruz and John Pollock surprisingly say no. In 'The Chimerical Appeal of Epistemic Externalism' they argue that justification bears no interesting connection to truth; justification does not even aim at truth. 'Truth is not a very interesting part of our best understanding' of justification (C&P 2004, 137); it has no 'connection to the truth.' A 'truth-aimed ... epistemology is not entitled to (...)
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  • Norms in the Wild: How to Diagnose, Measure, and Change Social Norms.Cristina Bicchieri - 2016 - Oxford University Press USA.
    In Norms in the Wild, distinguished philosopher Cristina Bicchieri argues that when it comes to human behavior, social scientists place too much stress on rational deliberation. In fact, she says, many choices occur without much deliberation at all. Two people passing in a corridor automatically negotiate their shared space; cars at an intersection obey traffic signals; we choose clothing based on our instincts for what is considered appropriate. Bicchieri's theory of social norms accounts for these automatic components of coordination, where (...)
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  • The Cement of Society: A Survey of Social Order.Jon Elster - 1989 - Cambridge University Press.
    The question Jon Elster addresses in this challenging book is what binds societies together and prevents them from disintegrating into chaos and war. He analyses two concepts of social order: stable, predictable patterns of behaviour, and co-operative behaviour. The book examines various aspects of collective action and bargaining from the perspective of rational-choice theory and the theory of social norms. It is a fundamental assumption of the book that social norms provide an important kind of motivation for action that is (...)
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  • The Grammar of Society: The Nature and Dynamics of Social Norms.Cristina Bicchieri - 2005 - Cambridge University Press.
    In The Grammar of Society, first published in 2006, Cristina Bicchieri examines social norms, such as fairness, cooperation, and reciprocity, in an effort to understand their nature and dynamics, the expectations that they generate, and how they evolve and change. Drawing on several intellectual traditions and methods, including those of social psychology, experimental economics and evolutionary game theory, Bicchieri provides an integrated account of how social norms emerge, why and when we follow them, and the situations where we are most (...)
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  • Assertion: On the Philosophical Significance of Assertoric Speech.Sanford Goldberg - 2015 - Oxford University Press.
    Sanford C. Goldberg presents a novel account of the speech act of assertion. He argues that this type of speech act is answerable to an epistemic, context-sensitive norm. On this basis he shows the philosophical importance of assertion for key debates in philosophy of language and mind, epistemology, and ethics.
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  • Knowledge on Trust.Paul Faulkner - 2011 - Oxford University Press.
    Paul Faulkner presents a new theory of testimony - the basis of much of what we know. He addresses the questions of what makes it reasonable to accept a piece of testimony, and what warrants belief formed on that basis. He rejects rival theories and argues that testimonial knowledge and testimonially warranted belief are based on trust.
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  • Reliability in Pragmatics.Eric McCready - 2014 - Oxford University Press.
    This book considers how observations about the past influence future behaviour, as expressed in language. Focusing on information gathered from speech and other evidence sources, the author offers a model of how judgements about reliability can be made, and how such judgements factor into how people treat information they acquire via those sources.
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  • Saying and Believing: The Norm Commonality Assumption.Mona Simion - 2018 - Philosophical Studies:1-16.
    One very popular assumption in the epistemological literature is that belief and assertion are governed by one and the same epistemic norm. This paper challenges this claim. Extant arguments in defence of the view are scrutinized and found to rest on value-theoretic inaccuracies. First, the belief-assertion parallel is shown to lack the needed normative strength. Second, I argue that the claim that assertion inherits the norm of belief in virtue of being an expression thereof rests on a failed instance of (...)
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  • Epistemic Entitlement.Peter J. Graham - 2012 - Noûs 46 (3):449-482.
    What is the best account of process reliabilism about epistemic justification, especially epistemic entitlement? I argue that entitlement consists in the normal functioning (proper operation) of the belief-forming process when the process has forming true beliefs reliably as an etiological function. Etiological functions involve consequence explanation: a belief-forming process has forming true beliefs reliably as a function just in case forming-true beliefs reliably partly explains the persistence of the process. This account paves the way for avoiding standard objections to process (...)
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  • The Explanation Proffering Norm of Moral Assertion.Mona Simion - 2018 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 21 (3):477-488.
    In recent years, much attention has been given to the epistemic credentials of belief based on moral testimony. Some people think pure moral deference is wrong, others disagree. It comes as a surprise, however, that while the epistemic responsibilities of the receiver of moral testimony have been closely scrutinized, little to no discussion has focused on the epistemic duties of the speaker. This paper aims to supply this lack: it defends a function-first account of the normativity of moral assertion. According (...)
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  • Linguistic Communication and Speech Acts.Kent Bach & Robert M. Harnish - 1979 - Cambridge: MIT Press.
    Psychological peculiarities of the training of teachers and lectures for the development of spiritual values and potential of youth -/- Definition of concepts "spiritual potential" and "spiritual values" is offered. It is noted that spiritual values have an individual-social basis. They affect the actions of people in various fields of life helping them to exercise moral choices of behavior in significant situations. Psychological peculiarities of the training of pedagogues to the development of spiritual values and the potential of student youth (...)
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  • Social Knowledge and Social Norms.Peter J. Graham - 2018 - In The Philosophy of Knowledge: A History. Volume IV: Knowledge in Contemporary Philosophy. London: pp. 111-138.
    Social knowledge, for the most part, is knowledge through testimony. This essay separates knowledge from justification, characterizes testimony as a source of belief, explains why testimony is a source of knowledge, canvasses arguments for anti-reductionism and for reductionism in the reductionism vs. anti-reductionism debate, addresses counterexamples to knowledge transmission, defends a safe basis account of testimonial knowledge, and turns to social norms as a partial explanation for the reliability of testimony.
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  • The Function of Perception.Peter J. Graham - 2014 - In Abrol Fairweather (ed.), Virtue Scientia: Bridges between Virtue Epistemology and Philosophy of Science. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Synthese Library. pp. 13-31.
    What is the biological function of perception? I hold perception, especially visual perception in humans, has the biological function of accurately representing the environment. Tyler Burge argues this cannot be so in Origins of Objectivity (Oxford, 2010), for accuracy is a semantical relationship and not, as such, a practical matter. Burge also provides a supporting example. I rebut the argument and the example. Accuracy is sometimes also a practical matter if accuracy partly explains how perception contributes to survival and reproduction.
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  • Testimony and Observation.C. A. J. Coady - 2000 - In Sven Bernecker & Fred I. Dretske (eds.), Knowledge: Readings in Contemporary Epistemology. Oxford University Press.
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  • Varieties of Meaning: The 2002 Jean Nicod Lectures.Ruth Garrett Millikan - 2004 - MIT Press.
    How the various things that are said to have meaning—purpose, natural signs, linguistic signs, perceptions, and thoughts—are related to one another.
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  • Social Action: A Teleological Account.Seumas Miller - 2001 - Cambridge University Press.
    Social action is central to social thought. This centrality reflects the overwhelming causal significance of action for social life, the centrality of action to any account of social phenomena, and the fact that conventions and normativity are features of human activity. This book provides philosophical analyses of fundamental categories of human social action, including cooperative action, conventional action, social norm governed action, and the actions of the occupants of organizational roles. A distinctive feature of the book is that it applies (...)
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  • Language, Thought, and Other Biological Categories: New Foundations for Realism.Ruth Garrett Millikan - 1984 - MIT Press.
    Preface by Daniel C. Dennett Beginning with a general theory of function applied to body organs, behaviors, customs, and both inner and outer representations, ...
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  • Language: A Biological Model.Ruth Garrett Millikan - 2005 - Oxford: Clarendon Press.
    Ruth Millikan is well known for having developed a strikingly original way for philosophers to seek understanding of mind and language, which she sees as biological phenomena. She now draws together a series of groundbreaking essays which set out her approach to language. Guiding the work of most linguists and philosophers of language today is the assumption that language is governed by prescriptive normative rules. Millikan offers a fundamentally different way of viewing the partial regularities that language displays, comparing them (...)
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  • Norms, Constitutive and Social, and Assertion.Elizabeth Fricker - 2017 - American Philosophical Quarterly 54 (4):397-418.
    I define a social norm as a regularity in behavior whose persistence is causally explained by the existence of sanctioning attitudes of participants toward violations—without these sanctions, individuals have motive to violate the norm. I show how a universal precept "When in circumstances S, do action F" can be sustained by the conditional preference of each to conform, given that others do, of a convention, and also reinforced by the sanctions of a norm. I observe that a precept with moral (...)
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  • The Point of Assertion is to Transmit Knowledge.John Turri - 2016 - Analysis 76 (2):130-136.
    Recent work in philosophy and cognitive science shows that knowledge is the norm of our social practice of assertion, in the sense that an assertion should express knowledge. But why should an assertion express knowledge? I hypothesize that an assertion should express knowledge because the point of assertion is to transmit knowledge. I present evidence supporting this hypothesis.
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  • Functions.Larry Wright - 1973 - Philosophical Review 82 (2):139-168.
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  • Assertion and The Provision of Knowledge.Charlie Pelling - 2013 - Philosophical Quarterly 63 (251):293-312.
    Epistemic relationism in the theory of assertion is the view that an assertion's epistemic propriety depends purely on the relation between the asserter and the proposition asserted. Many accounts of assertion are relationist in this sense, including the familiar knowledge, belief, and justification accounts. A notable feature of such accounts is that they give no direct importance to the role of hearer: as far as such accounts are concerned, we need make no mention of hearers in characterising an assertion's propriety (...)
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  • Assertion and the Semantics of Force-Markers.Manuel García-Carpintero - 2004 - In Claudia Bianchi (ed.), The Semantics/Pragmatics Distinction. CSLI Publications. pp. 133--166.
    In recent work, Williamson has defended a suggestive account of assertion. Williamson claims that the following norm or rule (the knowledge rule) is constitutive of assertion, and individuates it: (KR) One must ((assert p) only if one knows p) Williamson is not directly concerned with the semantics of assertion-markers, although he assumes that his view has implications for such an undertaking; he says: “in natural languages, the default use of declarative sentences is to make assertions” (op. cit., 258). In this (...)
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  • Norms.David Henderson - 2012 - In Harold Kincaid (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Social Science. Oxford University Press.
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  • Assertion: The Constitutive Norms View.Mona Simion & Christoph Kelp - 2019 - In Sanford Goldberg (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Assertion. Oxford University Press.
    Two important philosophical questions about assertion concern its nature and normativity. This article defends the optimism about the constitutive norm account of assertion and sets out a constitutivity thesis that is much more modest than that proposed by Timothy Williamson. It starts by looking at the extant objections to Williamson’s Knowledge Account of Assertion and argues that they fail to hit their target in virtue of imposing implausible conditions on engaging in norm-constituted activities. Second, it makes a similar proposal and (...)
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  • Convention: A Philosophical Study.David K. Lewis - 1971 - Philosophy and Rhetoric 4 (2):137-138.
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  • Norms of Trust.Paul Faulkner - 2010 - In Adrian Haddock, Alan Millar & Duncan Pritchard (eds.), Social Epistemology. Oxford University Press.
    Should we tell other people the truth? Should we believe what other people tell us? This paper argues that something like these norms of truth-telling and belief govern our production and receipt of testimony in conversational contexts. It then attempts to articulate these norms and determine their justification. More fully specified these norms prescribe that speakers tell the truth informatively, or be trustworthy, and that audiences presume that speakers do this, or trust. These norms of trust, as norms of conversational (...)
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  • Testimony, Trust, and Social Norms.Peter J. Graham - 2012 - Abstracta 6 (S6):92-116.
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  • Testimonial Entitlement and the Function of Comprehension.Peter J. Graham - 2010 - In Duncan Pritchard, Alan Millar & Adrian Haddock (eds.), Social Epistemology. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. pp. 148--174.
    This paper argues for the general proper functionalist view that epistemic warrant consists in the normal functioning of the belief-forming process when the process has forming true beliefs reliably as an etiological function. Such a process is reliable in normal conditions when functioning normally. This paper applies this view to so-called testimony-based beliefs. It argues that when a hearer forms a comprehension-based belief that P (a belief based on taking another to have asserted that P) through the exercise of a (...)
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  • Epistemic Normativity and Social Norms.Peter J. Graham - 2015 - In David Henderson & John Greco (eds.), Epistemic Evaluation: Purposeful Epistemology. Oxford University Press. pp. 247-273.
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  • Testimony: A Philosophical Study.C. A. J. Coady - 1992 - Philosophy 68 (265):413-415.
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  • Virtus Normativa: Rational Choice Perspectives.Philip Pettit - 1990 - Ethics 100 (4):725-755.
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  • The Evolution of Indirect Reciprocity.Robert Boyd & Peter J. Richerson - unknown
    Human societies are based on cooperation among large numbers of genetically unrelated individuals. This behavior is puzzling from an evolutionary perspective. Because cooperators are..
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  • Rules, Reasons and Norms.Philip Pettit - 2005 - Philosophical Studies 124 (2):185-197.
    Philip Pettit has drawn together here a series of interconnected essays on three subjects to which he has made notable contributions. The first part of the book discusses the rule-following character of thought. The second considers how choice can be responsive to different sorts of factors, while still being under the control of thought and the reasons that thought marshals. The third examines the implications of this view of choice and rationality for the normative regulation of social behaviour. Rules, Reasons, (...)
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  • Norms, Conventions, and the Power of Expectations.Cristina Bicchieri - unknown
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  • Review of Paul Faulkner, Knowledge on Trust. [REVIEW]Peter J. Graham - 2013 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2013:n-n.
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  • Meaning, Communication, and Knowledge.John McDowell - 1980 - In Z. Van Straaten (ed.), Philosophical Subjects. Oxford University Press. pp. 1.
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