Asserting versus Merely Communicating
Friday, January 30th, 2014
My question pertains to the contrast mentioned in the title, namely what distinguishes full-on assertion of a proposition from merely communicating it? For instance, what distinguishes asserting that you have not smoked crack cocaine from merely conveying that thought? Put slightly differently, consider two broad classes of speakings:
A. Asserting, affirming, claiming, stating, declaring, avowing, professing;
B. Giving to understand, implying, suggesting, conveying, intimating, insinuating, hinting.I am asking about what the difference is between those in the A-Class and those in the BClass. The game plan is straightforward. I begin with several familiar accounts of assertion, in extremely simplified form. Borrowing ideas from Dummett among others, I then sketch an alternative position, in part by comparing assertion to promising. I round out the paper with replies to objections.