Research Group in Analytic Philosophy

The Nature of Assertion: Consequences for Relativism and Fictionalism

Duration: 2011 - 2014

Code: FFI2010-16049

Principal Investigator

Manuel García-Carpintero (m.garciacarpintero@ub.edu)

Other researchers

Marta Campdelacreu

Josep Corbí

Kathrin Glüer-Pagin

Marta Jorba

Teresa Marques

Peter Pagin

Chiara Panizza

Francesc Pereña

Josep Lluís Prades

Fiora Salis

Richard Woodwar


Timothy Williamson’s 1996 paper „Knowing and Asserting“ reopened the interest in normative accounts of assertion, which had been in disfavour after Strawson’s influential Gricean criticism of Austin’s normative account. Williamson’s proposal has been the focus of ongoing discussion in the years since. The main goal of this project is to contribute to the goal of clarifying the nature of the speech act of assertion, and that of its internal mental correlate, judgment, by focusing on contemporary discussion of two related sets of issues: issues concerning proposals to relativize truth, and issues concerning seeming assertions involving apparent reference to fictional entities, and fictionalist proposals in general. We plan to contrast normative and descriptive accounts of assertoric force, by appraising how they fare when it comes to evaluating proposals for relativizing truth, on the one hand, and to what extent they underwrite fictionalist accounts in different fields on the other, in particular in the case of claims apparently involving reference to fictional characters, claims about the content of narratives in general and fictional narratives in particular, and claims about the narrative identity of the Self. The initial hypothesis is that normative accounts of assertoric force pose very serious difficulties for radical truth-relativism – proposals for relativizing truth as a property of assertions and judgments, not just of the contents of those acts – and that they help motivating fictionalist proposals.