Information and Assertoric Force*

Peter Pagin

in Assertion

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780199573004
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191595127 | DOI:
Information and Assertoric Force*

Show Summary Details


A new account of assertion is presented. Rough short statement: an assertion is an utterance that is prima facie informative. The idea of an informative utterance of a sentence is explicated in terms of a process that reliably selects sentences that are true among all sentences of a language (or other large set). To this are added accounts of what it is for a speaker and for a hearer to take an utterance as informative, in terms of their credences in the proposition expressed. In the hearer's case it is the credence that results from the utterance, and in the speaker's case the credence that precedes and partially explains the utterance. Finally, these credence connections are tied to certain surface features, typically grammatical and intonational, but the connections are only default connections and can be overridden, e.g. because of background knowledge on the part of the hearer, or because of an intention to deceive on the part of the speaker. This spells out the prima facie character. The account is applied to a number of cases and some problems are discussed. There is also an initial criticism of the currently popular trend of accounting for assertion in terms of norms.

Keywords: assertion; information; informativeness; credence; utterance

Chapter.  21166 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy of Language

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.