Assertion by Mark Jary (auth.)

By Mark Jary (auth.)

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1. This sort of communicative behaviour does not rely on intention recognition or belief attribution. Rather, ‘When the communicative process functions properly, sensory confrontation with a piece of communicative behaviour has the same impact on the state of a perceiver as sensory confrontation with the states of affairs that the behaviour, as we may say, represents; elements of the communicative repertoire serve as epistemic surrogates for the represented states of affairs’ (McDowell 1980/1998: 45).

Gricean nonnatural meaning is characterised by its association with special type of intention: the intention to induce a certain belief in the audience via the recognition of that intention (1989: 218–19). On this view, identifying utterance-meaning necessarily involves attributing intentions, and the intentions that need to be ascribed concern propositional attitudes of the speaker. In the case of an assertion that P, the attitude that needs to be attributed to the speaker, according to Grice (1989: 123), is the intention that the hearer should think that the speaker believes that P.

Those, such as Barker, who deny propositions an explanatory role in semantics must find another means of explaining what is common to a group of sentences such as (28) to (30), such that (30) might be uttered to ask whether (28) had been complied with, and (29) uttered to assert that it had: (28) Peter, stand up! ’ Barker explains the meaning common to these three sentences in terms of assertion. An order given using an imperative sentence is analysed as a case of a speaker advertising intentions to: a) represent a state of affairs in which she desires that the hearer sees to it that a certain assertion is correct (in the sense that it is correctly asserted by anyone with perfect information); b) have the hearer believe she has this desire.

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