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Learning from WordsTestimony as a Source of Knowledge$
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Jennifer Lackey

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199219162

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199219162.001.0001

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Norms of Assertion and Testimonial Knowledge

Norms of Assertion and Testimonial Knowledge

(p.103) 4 Norms of Assertion and Testimonial Knowledge
Learning from Words

Jennifer Lackey (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines a further objection that has been raised to the view defended in this book — an objection that is grounded in a widely accepted thesis about the norm governing proper assertion. According to the Knowledge Norm of Assertion, or the KNA, a speaker should assert that p only if she knows that p. Given that the counterexamples to the Belief View of Testimony in Chapter 2 rely on speakers who offer assertions in the absence of knowledge, it has been argued that such examples fail because the speakers in question violate the KNA. This chapter argues, however, that the KNA is false. An alternative norm of assertion is then developed — the Reasonable to Believe Norm of Assertion, or the RTBNA — that not only avoids the problems afflicting the KNA, but also more fully and coherently accommodates our general intuitions about both asserters and their assertions.

Keywords:   Belief View of Testimony, knowledge, Knowledge Norm of Assertion, KNA, Reasonable to Believe Norm of Assertion, RTBNA, testimony

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