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The Exchange of WordsSpeech, Testimony, and Intersubjectivity$
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Richard Moran

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190873325

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190873325.001.0001

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The Meaning of Sincerity and Self-Expression

The Meaning of Sincerity and Self-Expression

(p.76) 3 The Meaning of Sincerity and Self-Expression
The Exchange of Words

Richard Moran

Oxford University Press

Taking off from the discussion of sincerity in Bernard Williams’s Truth and Truthfulness, this chapter explores a “telepathic ideal” of communication between people. On this picture, the meaning and value of sincerity in speech would be that, insofar as a speaker is sincere, we are given a guarantee that what is expressed overtly corresponds to the attitudes that the speaker holds privately. On this view, our interest in the speech of others is ultimately in learning what their internal mental states are, and hence, if we were able (telepathically or otherwise) to learn this without the mediation of communicative speech, that would be so much the better. A distinction between two senses of “expression” is introduced: expression as indication (whether conscious or not) and expression to someone.

Keywords:   Bernard Williams, sincerity, telepathy, expression, self-expression, speech

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