• Assertions, Handicaps, and Social Norms
    Episteme 17 (3): 349-363. 2020.
    How should we undertand the role of norms – especially epistemic norms – governing assertive speech acts? Mitchell Green has argued that these norms play the role of handicaps in the technical sense from the animal signals literature. As handicaps, they then play a large role in explaining the reliability – and so the stability – of assertive speech acts. But though norms of assertion conceived of as social norms do indeed play this stabilizing role, these norms are best understood as deterrents…Read more
  • Protests and counter-protests seek to draw and direct attention and concern with confronting images and slogans. In recent years, as protests and counter-protests have partially migrated to the digital space, such images and slogans have also gone online. Two main ways in which these images and slogans are translated to the online space is through the use of emoji and hashtags. Despite sustained academic interest in online protests, hashtag activism and the use of emoji across social media platf…Read more
  • The presumption of assurance
    Paul Faulkner
    Synthese 1-16. forthcoming.
    According to the Assurance Theory of testimony, in telling an audience something, a speaker offers their assurance that what is told is true, which is something like their guarantee, or promise, of truth. However, speakers also tell lies and say things they do not have the authority to back up. So why does understanding tellings to be a form of assurance explain how tellings can provide a reason for belief? This paper argues that reasons come once it is recognised that tellings are trusted. And …Read more
  • Against selfless assertions
    Philosophical Studies 174 (9): 2277-2295. 2017.
    Lackey’s (2007) class of “selfless assertions” is controversial in at least two respects: it allows propositions that express Moorean absurdity to be asserted warrantedly, and it challenges the orthodox view that the speaker’s belief is a necessary condition for warranted assertibility. With regard to the former point, I critically examine Lackey’s broadly Gricean treatment of Moorean absurdity and McKinnon’s (2015) epistemic approach. With regard to the latter point, I defend the received view …Read more
  • Undoing things with words
    Synthese 197 (6): 2399-2414. 2018.
    Over the last five decades, philosophers of language have looked into the mechanisms for doing things with words. The same attention has not been devoted to how to undo those things, once they have been done. This paper identifies and examines three strategies to make one’s speech acts undone—namely, Annulment, Retraction, and Amendment. In annulling an act, a speaker brings to light its fatal flaws. Annulment amounts to recognizing an act as null, whereas retraction and amendment amount to maki…Read more
  • Lying and History
    In Jörg Meibauer (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Lying, Oxford University Press. pp. 541-552. 2018.
    I begin by discussing views about the permissibility of lying by political leaders. Sections II and III address historically important lies and lies about history and the historical record. These two categories overlap - some lies about the historical record were historically important events. In section IV, I discuss the related notion of half-truths and give examples of misleading/deceptive half-truths about history. In the final section of this chapter, I briefly discuss the obligations of hi…Read more
  • The norm of assertion: Empirical data
    Cognition 177 165-171. 2018.
    Assertions are speech acts by means of which we express beliefs. As such they are at the heart of our linguistic and social practices. Recent research has focused extensively on the question whether the speech act of assertion is governed by norms, and if so, under what conditions it is acceptable to make an assertion. Standard theories propose, for instance, that one should only assert that p if one knows that p (the knowledge account), or that one should only assert that p if p is true (the tr…Read more
  • Lying despite telling the truth
    Alex Wiegmann, Jana Samland, and Michael R. Waldmann
    Cognition 150 37-42. 2016.