Questions, Justification Requests, Inference, and Definition

February 2022

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

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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You are welcome to download and read this document. I especially welcome feedback on it. As it is not yet published in final form, if you want to cite the paper, please check with me first. Thanks.


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, and the Director of the Arché Philosophical Research Centre for Logic, Language, Metaphysics and Epistemology I like thinking about – and helping other people think about – logic and philosophy and the many different ways they can inform each other.


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