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Monday, February 29, 2016


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>>When I make an assertion, I do at least two things: I commit myself to the truth of what I assert, and I communicate the content of my assertion to a hearer.<<

We have discussed this a few times before. Your view, as I understand, is that the content is independent of the assertion, i.e. the content of the statement ‘grass is green’ and the question ‘is grass green?’ is the same. However in the first I ‘I commit myself to the truth of what I assert’, in the second I don’t.

Actually that’s not quite right. Clearly if you assert something, you ‘commit yourself to the truth of what you assert’, by having asserted it. You can’t assert it without asserting it as true. Of course you can utter a sentence without asserting it. For example, in ‘is it the case that grass is green?’ you have uttered the words ‘grass is green’. Is that what you meant?

Perhaps I haven’t understood. In any case, my view is different to yours: the assertion is always signified in some way. If I write ‘grass is pink??’, I am not asserting that grass is pink, I am questioning whether it is, and this is signified by the double question marks. If I utter this, I will intone the words in a way that is equivalent to the question marks. If (your example) I utter ‘Yeah, right. Peter is innocent’, the words ‘yeah right’ are the irony marks. It’s essentially no different from ‘it is not the case that Peter is innocent’, where the clause ‘Peter is innocent’ is attached to the negation sign ‘it is not the case that’.

So it's all to do with signs of various sorts. I utter a sentence and wink. The eye movement cancels the assertion. A stage is a sign that signifies that the people on it are actors.

I didn’t follow the part from ‘What is assertoric force?’ onwards.

Same also for "If Peter is innocent, then his conviction is unjust."

Assume this is equivalent to "it is not the case that Peter is innocent and his conviction is just."

Then the words 'it is not the case that' signify negation of the conjunction. Hence the conjunction is not asserted, nor are either of the conjuncts.

New post here.

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