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AssertionNew Philosophical Essays$
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Jessica Brown and Herman Cappelen

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199573004

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199573004.001.0001

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Truth‐Relativism, Norm‐Relativism, and Assertion *

Truth‐Relativism, Norm‐Relativism, and Assertion *

(p.197) 9 Truth‐Relativism, Norm‐Relativism, and Assertion*

Patrick Greenough (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The first part of this chapter concerns the question as to what is the best account of the norms of assertion and belief under a genuinely relativistic conception of truth. Several proposals are scrutinised and it is found that if all of the (alleged) linguistic data is to be respected then the best account is a relativistic version of the knowledge norm on assertion/belief. Along the way, a problem given by Evans against the idea that correctness might be a non-absolute matter is defused. In the second part of the chapter, an alternative account of the norms of assertion and belief under which truth is absolute but correctness is not is defended. This view is dubbed Norm-Relativism as on such a view just what norm of assertion is in play in some conversational context is itself a relativistic matter. Relative to low standards contexts of assessment, such a norm is undemanding, but relative to high-standards contexts of assessment, whereby the possibility of error and/or the stakes have been raised, the norm is very demanding indeed. Norm-Relativism allows one to defend a form of Invariantism for ‘knows’ and arguably represents a far more attractive position than the various forms of contextualism (and relativism about truth) on offer. However, in order to properly defend Norm-Relativism, it is argued that one must cast doubt on the veracity of at least some of the linguistic data.

Keywords:   Assertion, relativism, Belief, Invariantism, Norms, truth, knowledge

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