The Journal of Philosophy

Volume 114, Issue 7, July 2017

Adam Green
Pages 381-391

An Epistemic Norm for Implicature

Timothy Williamson and others have made a strong case for the claim that knowledge is the norm of assertion. Reasons to think that assertion has an epistemic norm also, interestingly, provide a reason to think that conversational implicature has a norm as well. This norm, it is argued, cannot be knowledge. In addition to highlighting an under-explored topic at the intersection of epistemology and linguistics, the discussion of conversational implicature puts dialectical pressure on the knowledge norm of assertion account. The fact that knowledge is not the norm of conversational implicature forces one either to claim that there is one epistemic norm for the conveying of information and that it is not knowledge, or else to embrace a heterogeneous picture of communicative norms generally that undercuts some of the grounds for thinking that the norm of assertion should be presumed to be a simple norm as Williamson argues.