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Volume 17, 2002

Semantic Theory and Reported Speech

Jonathan Sutton
Pages 46-58

The Things People Say

It appears that the objects of belief and the objects of assertion are, often, one and the same. The objects of assertion must be communicable – if an assertion leads to successful communication, the audience grasps what the speaker said. There are good reasons for thinking that beliefs are relations to very fine-grained contents, however, which appear to be unsuitable for reliable transmission from speaker to audience. I consider two accounts of the apparent intersection of the objects of belief and the objects of assertion, and find them unable to embrace both of these claims. I defend the view that beliefs have multiple, truth-conditionally equivalent contents on the grounds that it is able to reconcile the apparently conflicting claims.

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