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date: 15 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Theories of assertion must explain how silencing is possible. This chapter defends an account of assertion in terms of normative commitments on the grounds that it provides the most plausible analysis of how individuals might be silenced when attempting to make assertions. The chapter first offers an account of the nature of silencing and defends the view that it can occur even in contexts where speakers’ communicative intentions are understood by their audience. Second, it outlines some of the normative commitments characteristic of assertion when used in the speech act of telling. This commitment view of assertion is then used to explain silencing as a matter of being deprived of the ability to make some of the commitments one is trying to acquire. Finally, the main rivals of the commitment view of assertion endorsed here are shown to be unable to account for silencing, at least when they are considered in their purest form.

Keywords: silencing, assertion, discursive injustice, normative commitment, communicative intention

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