Assertion Without its Constitutive Norm - Neri Marsili

Assertion Without its Constitutive Norm - Neri Marsili
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There is philosophical disagreement about which norm regulates assertion. Proponents of factive accounts argue that only true propositions are assertable, whereas proponents of non-factive accounts insist that at least some false propositions are. An alternative solution is to understand truth as the aim of assertion: in asserting, you describe reality as being in a certain way, and you succeed only if reality is indeed in that way. This principle, which dovetails nicely with widely accepted assumptions in Stalnakerian and Gricean pragmatics, tells us under which conditions assertions are successful, but not under which condition they are permissible.

This paper explores the possibility of deriving assertability constraints from assertion’s aim, appealing to communicative expectations of rationality and cooperation, and taking inspiration from naturalist accounts á la Millikan. The assertability expectations predicted by this account are loose, complex, and sensitive to features of the context. The resulting model has a number of advantages over traditional views: it comes with a plausible genealogical story about assertoric norms, with an explanation for the substantial philosophical disagreement about the norm, it is able to account for context-sensitivity, and it does without some assumptions about the norm of assertion that have attracted severe criticism (the assumption that the norm must be unique, constitutive, that it must individuate assertions, etc.).

Date & time

Thu 04 Apr 2024, 2:00pm to 3:30pm


Level 1 Auditorium (1.28), RSSS Building 146 Ellery Cres. Acton 2601, ACT


Neri Marsili


Michael Barnes


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