Philosophical Studies

, Volume 168, Issue 3, pp 725–744

Same, same but different: the epistemic norms of assertion, action and practical reasoning


DOI: 10.1007/s11098-013-0156-0

Cite this article as:
Gerken, M. Philos Stud (2014) 168: 725. doi:10.1007/s11098-013-0156-0


What is the relationship between the epistemic norms of assertion and the epistemic norms of action/practical reasoning? Brown argues that the epistemic standards for practical reasoning and assertion are distinct (Brown in Philos Phenomenol Res 84(1):123–157, 2012). In contrast, Montminy argues that practical reasoning and assertion must be governed by the same epistemic norm (Montminy in Pac Philos Quart 93(4):57–68, 2012). Likewise, McKinnon has articulated an argument for a unified account from cases of isolated second-hand knowledge (McKinnon in Logos Episteme 3(4):565–569, 2012). To clarify the issue, I articulate a distinction between Equivalence Commonality and Structural Commonality. I then argue against the former by counterexamples that doubly dissociate the epistemic standards for assertion and action. Furthermore, I argue that such a double dissociation compromises knowledge accounts of both assertion and action/practical reasoning. To provide a more accurate diagnosis, I consider speech act theory and argue that principled differences between the epistemic norms of action and assertion compromise Equivalence Commonality. In contrast, a qualified version of Structural Commonality may be preserved.


Epistemic normsAssertionActionPractical reasoning

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark