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date: 28 May 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article considers the ethical dimensions of acts of assertion. Acts of assertion often have moral features, such as being wrong. In this regard, they are like many other familiar acts such as invasions of privacy and inflictions of bodily harm, which are also often wrong. But might assertion have an even more intimate link to moral reality than these other actions? Might it be that how things are ethically explains how it is that we could perform illocutionary acts such as asserting? A version of what the author calls the normative theory of speech answers in the affirmative. This view maintains that the performance of illocutionary acts such as asserting not only often have moral properties, such as being morally wrong, but also that there are cases in which moral facts explain (in part) how it is that agents can perform these acts. The article presents the rudiments of the normative theory of speech, paying attention to why it maintains that moral facts are among the features that explain how it is that we can assert. Along the way, the author points to some interesting metaethical implications of the position.

Keywords: assertion, ethical dimensions, normative theory of speech, moral facts, metaethics

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