Norms of Assertion and Testimonial Knowledge

Jennifer Lackey

in Learning from Words

Published in print February 2008 | ISBN: 9780199219162
Published online May 2008 | e-ISBN: 9780191711824 | DOI:
Norms of Assertion and Testimonial Knowledge

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This chapter examines a further objection that has been raised to the view defended in this book — an objection that is grounded in a widely accepted thesis about the norm governing proper assertion. According to the Knowledge Norm of Assertion, or the KNA, a speaker should assert that p only if she knows that p. Given that the counterexamples to the Belief View of Testimony in Chapter 2 rely on speakers who offer assertions in the absence of knowledge, it has been argued that such examples fail because the speakers in question violate the KNA. This chapter argues, however, that the KNA is false. An alternative norm of assertion is then developed — the Reasonable to Believe Norm of Assertion, or the RTBNA — that not only avoids the problems afflicting the KNA, but also more fully and coherently accommodates our general intuitions about both asserters and their assertions.

Keywords: Belief View of Testimony; knowledge; Knowledge Norm of Assertion; KNA; Reasonable to Believe Norm of Assertion; RTBNA; testimony

Chapter.  17830 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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