, Volume 194, Issue 5, pp 1463–1476 | Cite as

Assertion, uniqueness and epistemic hypocrisy

  • J. Adam CarterEmail author
S.I. : Truth & Epistemic Norms


Engel (Grazer Philos Stud 77: 45–59, 2008) has insisted that a number of notable strategies for rejecting the knowledge norm of assertion are put forward on the basis of the wrong kinds of reasons. A central aim of this paper will be to establish the contrast point: I argue that one very familiar strategy for defending the knowledge norm of assertion—viz., that it is claimed to do better in various respects than its competitors (e.g. the justification and the truth norms)—relies on a presupposition that is shown to be ultimately under-motivated. That presupposition is the uniqueness thesis—that there is a unique epistemic rule for assertion, and that such a rule will govern assertions uniformly. In particular, the strategy I shall take here will be to challenge the sufficiency leg of the knowledge norm in a way that at the same time counts against Williamson’s (Knowledge and its limits, 2000) own rationale for the uniqueness thesis. However, rather than to challenge the sufficiency leg of the knowledge norm via the familiar style of ‘expert opinion’ and, more generally, ‘second-hand knowledge’ cases (e.g. Lackey in Learning from words: testimony as a source of knowledge, 2008), a strategy that has recently been called into question by Benton (Philos Phenomenol Res, 2014), I’ll instead advance a very different line of argument against the sufficiency thesis, one which turns on a phenomenon I call epistemic hypocrisy.


Knowledge account of assertion Epistemic Norms Assertion  Pascal engel 


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Eidyn Research CentreUniversity of EdinburghEdinburghUK

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