Questions, Justification Requests, Inference, and Definition (article in progress)

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In this paper, I examine connections between the speech acts of assertion, denial, polar questions and justification requests, and the common ground. When we pay attention to the structure of norms governing polar questions, we can clarify the distinction between strong and weak denial, together with the parallel distinction between strong and weak assertion, and the distinct way that these speech acts interact with the common ground. In addition, once we pay attention to the distinct norms concerning justification requests, we can give a distinctive answer to Carroll’s puzzle concerning the force of the logical must, and the sense in which certain rules for logical concepts can indeed count as definitions.


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I’m Greg Restall, and this is my personal website. ¶ I am the Shelby Cullom Davis Professor of Philosophy at the University of St Andrews.

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