•  51
    Lying: Knowledge or Belief?
    Philosophical Studies. forthcoming.
    A new definition of lying is gaining traction, according to which you lie only if you say what you know to be false. Drawing inspiration from “New Evil Demon” scenarios, I present a battery of counterexamples against this “Knowledge Account” of lying. Along the way, I comment upon the methodology of conceptual analysis, the moral implications of the Knowledge Account, and its ties with knowledge-first epistemology.
  •  12
    Assertion: a (partly) social speech act
    Journal of Pragmatics 181 (August 2021): 17-28. 2021.
    In a series of articles (Pagin, 2004, 2009), Peter Pagin has argued that assertion is not a social speech act, introducing a method (which we baptize ‘the P-test’) designed to refute any account that defines assertion in terms of its social effects. This paper contends that Pagin's method fails to rebut the thesis that assertion is social. We show that the P-test is both unreliable (because it overgenerates counterexamples) and counterproductive (because it ultimately provides evidence in favor …Read more
  •  2
    Is truth the rule or the aim of assertions? Philosophers disagree. After reviewing the available evidence, the hypothesis that truth is the aim of assertion is defended against recent attempts to prove that truth is rather a rule of assertion.
  •  101
    Lies, Common Ground and Performative Utterances
    Erkenntnis 1-12. forthcoming.
    In a recent book (Lying and insincerity, Oxford University Press, 2018), Andreas Stokke argues that one lies iff one says something one believes to be false, thereby proposing that it becomes common ground. This paper shows that Stokke’s proposal is unable to draw the right distinctions about insincere performative utterances. The objection also has repercussions on theories of assertion, because it poses a novel challenge to any attempt to define assertion as a proposal to update the common gro…Read more
  •  145
    Lying, speech acts, and commitment
    Synthese 1-25. forthcoming.
    Not every speech act can be a lie. A good definition of lying should be able to draw the right distinctions between speech acts (like promises, assertions, and oaths) that can be lies and speech acts (like commands, suggestions, or assumptions) that under no circumstances are lies. This paper shows that no extant account of lying is able to draw the required distinctions. It argues that a definition of lying based on the notion of ‘assertoric commitment’ can succeed where other accounts have fai…Read more
  •  614
    This paper analyses the communicative and epistemic value of retweeting (and more generally of reposting content on social media). Against a naïve view, it argues that retweets are not acts of endorsement, motivating this diagnosis with linguistic data. Retweeting is instead modelled as a peculiar form of quotation, in which the reported content is indicated rather than reproduced. A relevance-theoretic account of the communicative import of retweeting is then developed, to spell out the complex…Read more
  •  41
    Assertions are our standard communicative tool for sharing and acquiring information. Recent empirical studies seemingly provide converging evidence that assertions are subject to a factive norm: you are entitled to assert a proposition p only if p is true. All these studies, however, assume that we can treat participants' judgments about what an agent 'should say' as evidence of their intuitions about assertability. This paper argues that this assumption is incorrect, so that the conclusions dr…Read more
  •  41
    Assertion and its Social Significance: An Introduction
    with Bianca Cepollaro and Paolo Labinaz
    Rivista Italiana di Filosofia del Linguaggio 13 (1): 1-18. 2019.
    This paper offers a brief survey of the philosophical literature on assertion, presenting each contribution to the RIFL special issue "Assertion and its social significance" within the context of the contemporary debate in which it intervenes. The discussion is organised into three thematic sections. The first one concerns the nature of assertion and its relation with assertoric commitment – the distinctive responsibility that the speaker undertakes in virtue of making a statement. The second se…Read more
  •  192
    The norm of assertion: a ‘constitutive’ rule?
    Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 1-22. 2019.
    According to an influential hypothesis, the speech act of assertion is subject to a single 'constitutive' rule, that takes the form: "One must: assert that p only if p has C". Scholars working on assertion interpret the assumption that this rule is 'constitutive' in different ways. This disagreement, often unacknowledged, threatens the foundations of the philosophical debate on assertion. This paper reviews different interpretations of the claim that assertion is governed by a constitutive rule.…Read more
  •  210
    Immoral lies and partial beliefs
    Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 1-11. 2019.
    In a recent article, Krauss (2017) raises some fundamental questions concerning (i) what the desiderata of a definition of lying are, and (ii) how definitions of lying can account for partial beliefs. This paper aims to provide an adequate answer to both questions. Regarding (i), it shows that there can be a tension between two desiderata for a definition of lying: 'descriptive accuracy' (meeting intuitions about our ordinary concept of lying), and 'moral import' (meeting intuitions about what i…Read more
  •  413
    Truth and assertion: rules vs aims
    Analysis 78 (4). 2018.
    There is a fundamental disagreement about which norm regulates assertion. Proponents of factive accounts argue that only true propositions are assertable, whereas proponents of non-factive accounts insist that at least some false propositions are. Puzzlingly, both views are supported by equally plausible (but apparently incompatible) linguistic data. This paper delineates an alternative solution: to understand truth as the aim of assertion, and pair this view with a non-factive rule. The resulti…Read more
  •  885
    You don't say! Lying, asserting and insincerity
    Dissertation, University of Sheffield. 2017.
    This thesis addresses philosophical problems concerning improper assertions. The first part considers the issue of defining lying: here, against a standard view, I argue that a lie need not intend to deceive the hearer. I define lying as an insincere assertion, and then resort to speech act theory to develop a detailed account of what an assertion is, and what can make it insincere. Even a sincere assertion, however, can be improper (e.g., it can be false, or unwarranted): in the second part of …Read more
  •  204
    Lying and Certainty
    In Jörg Meibauer (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Lying, Oxford University Press. pp. 170-182. 2018.
    In the philosophical literature on the definition of lying, the analysis is generally restricted to cases of flat-out belief. This chapter considers the complex phenomenon of lies involving partial beliefs – beliefs ranging from mere uncertainty to absolute certainty. The first section analyses lies uttered while holding a graded belief in the falsity of the assertion, and presents a revised insincerity condition, requiring that the liar believes the assertion to be more likely to be false than …Read more
  •  37
    Secondo la definizione “standard”, la menzogna è definita da quattro condizioni necessarie, congiuntamente sufficienti. La prima (condizione dell’asserto) richiede che il parlante proferisca un asserto in una frase dichiarativa dotata di senso compiuto. La seconda (condizione dell’insincerità), stabilisce che il parlante debba credere falso il contenuto proposizionale (p) del suo asserto, e la terza (condizione dell’interlocutore) richiede che l’asserto sia rivolto a un interlocutore. Secondo l’…Read more
  •  932
    Lying by Promising. A study on insincere illocutionary acts
    International Review of Pragmatics 8 (2): 271-313. 2016.
    This paper is divided into two parts. In the first part, I extend the traditional definition of lying to illocutionary acts executed by means of explicit performatives, focusing on promising. This is achieved in two steps. First, I discuss how the utterance of a sentence containing an explicit performative such as “I promise that Φ ” can count as an assertion of its content Φ . Second, I develop a general account of insincerity meant to explain under which conditions a given illocutionary act ca…Read more
  •  43
    Normative accounts of assertion: from Peirce to Williamson and back again
    Rivista Italiana di Filosofia del Linguaggio 112-130. 2015.
    Arguably, a theory of assertion should be able to provide (i) a definition of assertion, and (ii) a set of conditions for an assertion to be appropriate. This paper reviews two strands of theories that have attempted to meet this challenge. Commitment-based accounts à la Peirce define assertion in terms of commitment to the truth of the proposition. Restriction-based accounts à la Williamson define assertion in terms of the conditions for its appropriate performance. After assessing the suitabil…Read more
  •  1233
    Lying as a scalar phenomenon
    In Sibilla Cantarini, Werner Abraham & Elizabeth Leiss (eds.), "Certainty-uncertainty – and the attitudinal space in between”,, John Benjamins Publishing. 2014.
    In the philosophical debate on lying, there has generally been agreement that either the speaker believes that his statement is false, or he believes that his statement is true. This article challenges this assumption, and argues that lying is a scalar phenomenon that allows for a number of intermediate cases – the most obvious being cases of uncertainty. The first section shows that lying can involve beliefs about graded truth values (fuzzy lies) and graded beliefs (graded-belief lies). It puts…Read more
  •  18
    "Mentire è moralmente sbagliato" è una tautologia? Una risposta a Margolis
    Rivista Italiana di Filosofia Analitica - Junior 3 (2): 36-49. 2012.
    All’interno del dibattito sulla definizione filosofica della menzogna, alcuni autori hanno sostenuto che mentire è sempre sbagliato. Margolis, in particolare, ha espresso la tesi radicale secondo cui “mentire è moralmente sbagliato” è una tautologia. Nella prima parte dell’articolo introduco la tesi di Margolis, e ne difendo la plausibilità contro le semplificazioni che ha subito all’interno del dibattito filosofico, mostrando che l’applicazione condizionale del predicato “sbagliato” consente di…Read more