Speech Acts: Natural or Normative Kinds? The Case of Assertion

Authors


  • Thanks to Mahrad Almotahari, Corine Besson, Patrycja Kaszynska, and an anonymous referee for comments on earlier drafts of this paper.

Abstract

There are two views of the essences of speech acts: according to one view, they are natural kinds; according to the other, they are what I call normative kinds—kinds in the (possibly non-reductive) definition of which some normative term occurs. In this article I show that speech acts can be normative but also natural kinds by deriving Williamson's account of assertion, on which it is an act individuated, and constitutively governed, by a norm (the knowledge rule), from a consideration of the natural characteristics of normal cases of its performance.

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