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date: 30 March 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Austin argued that asserting is a family of four systematically related illocutionary acts: that, when we assert, we are always either Calling an item something, or Describing an item as something, or Exemplifying an item as something, or Classing an item as one thing rather than another. In this chapter, the author argues that each of these four assertive illocutionary acts implies a characteristic knowing of an item; that there are four ways to know an item, each way providing justification for one kind of asserting. If we assert something about an item and are challenged—if we are asked How do you know?—we justify our asserting in terms of the knowledge of the item that our asserting implied. By focusing on the question of how we know, this chapter attempts to clarify the relationship between our common assertive practices and the knowledge we bring to it.

Keywords: asserting, illocutionary acts, “how”-questions, “why”-questions, knowledge by acquaintance, the expressive/reportive distinction, pointed questions, Wittgenstein on pain, onus of match, direction of fit

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