Assertion and the Ethics of Belief

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter examines the ethical dimension of the practice of assertion, both in making and in receiving an assertion, and its connection to the ethics of belief. It argues that on the plausible assumption that the speech act of assertion has an epistemic norm, we can account for the ethical dimension of the practice in terms of the reasonable expectations that hearers have of asserters, and that asserters have of hearers. Further, it argues that the ethics of assertion informs the ethics of belief. Since assertion is one predominate way meeting another’s informational needs, it argues that one’s beliefs should be such that they are properly assertable should the need for such information arise. This, it is argued, places constraints on both higher-order and first-order beliefs.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Ethics of Belief
EditorsJonathan Matheson, Rico Vitz
Place of PublicationOxford, UK
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages23
ISBN (Print)9780199686520
StatePublished - 2014

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