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Assertion, context, and epistemic accessibility

By John Hawthorne and Ofra Magidor


In his seminal paper 'Assertion', Robert Stalnaker distinguishes between the semantic content of a sentence on an occasion of use and the content asserted by an utterance of that sentence on that occasion. While in general the assertoric content of an utterance is simply its semantic content, the mechanisms of conversation sometimes force the two apart. Of special interest in this connection is one of the principles governing assertoric content in the framework, one according to which the asserted content ought to be identical at each world in the context set (the Uniformity principle). In this paper, we present a problem for Stalnaker's meta-semantic framework, by challenging the plausibility of the Uniformity principle. We argue that the interaction of the framework with facts about epistemic accessibility - in particular, failures of epistemic transparency - cause problems for the Uniformity principle and thus for Stalnaker's framework more generally.The full-text of this article is not currently available in ORA, but you may be able to access the article via the publisher copy link on this record page

Topics: Philosophy
Year: 2009
DOI identifier: 10.1093/mind
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