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date: 22 July 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article discusses the belief view of assertion, which considers assertion to be basically the expression of a belief. Let “S” stand for the asserter and “p” be a placeholder for a declarative sentence providing the content of the assertion. Then the belief view, in its purest form, takes “S asserts that p” to mean that S expresses the belief that p. The article proceeds as follows. It first introduces three general worries threatening variants of the belief view. Afterwards, it deals with Green’s disjunctive analysis, which utilizes a factive concept of belief expression for delineating sincere assertions and then provides conditions for insincere assertions. The remaining sections turn to Bach and Harnish’s, Davis’s, and Kemmerling’s variants of the belief view. They are connected by applying a nonfactive concept of belief expression to both sincere and insincere assertions. It is shown that these accounts face a common problem. The involved notion of indicating a belief has to be weak enough to allow for obviously insincere assertions, that is, cases in which it is evident to all eyes that the utterer does not believe what she asserts. But then it appears to be too weak to exclude utterances by which an assertion is simulated but not performed.

Keywords: assertion, belief view, belief expression, Green, Bach, Harnish, Davis, Kemmerling

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