• D. S. Shwayder
Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 224)


Statements are products of utterance, specifically of assertion successfully undertaken. That is a thesis and a proposal for whose elaboration I have tried to establish a foundation in the previous chapter. Something like a definition of statement is needed. Just as mice, guinea pigs and beavers, abundantly familiar in their own places to householders, juveniles and trappers, are1 together technically classified as rodents, so statements constitute a technical, factitious classification of various items which are, in their places, abundantly familiar to specialists and non-specialists alike For starters, we need some irrevocable specimens to illustrate what we want our technical idea of a statement to cover, and the following is a representative listing, with contrasting items in parentheses
  1. (i)

    Aristotle was twice married (but not: Plato was a homosexual, an “opinion”).

  2. (ii)

    Crete is an island in the Red Sea (but not: Maybe Atlantis was an island off the coast of Spain, a supposition or “declaration of possibility”).

  3. (iii)

    There will be a total eclipse of the sun visible from Central Europe on Aug. 11, 1999 (but not: There will be a major earthquake in the Bay Area before 1985, a onetime prediction).

  4. (iv)

    e=1.6020 x 10 −19 columbs (but not: Heat is matter in motion, an hypothesis).

  5. (v)

    All earthly mountains higher than 8000 meters are in Asia (but not: All birds are warmblooded, a generalization).

  6. (vi)

    Pampadour was once the favorite of Louis XV and Barry was later on (but not: If Philip II had not reigned for so long, Spain would not have languished, a conditional).

  7. (vii)

    28 is a perfect number (but not: There is no odd perfect number, a conjecture).



True Belief Theoretical Knowledge Propositional Content Factual Knowledge Perceptual Knowledge 
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  1. 1.
    For argument in support of this point, see Ramsey’s On Truth, edited and posthumously published by Nicholas Rescher and Ulrich Majer (Dordrect, 1990), esp. in Chap. IV entitled “Knowledge and Opinion”.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    The formula suggests a resemblance, which a reader remarked on, between my doctrine and F. I. Dretské s book, Knowledge and the Flow of Information (Cambridge, Mass., 1982 ). There are certainly affinities but also important differences. I once thought to include a comparison, but have now decided that the following commentary together with occasional remarks later on would do just as well for readers who are informed enough to have an established interest in some such comparison.Google Scholar
  3. 6.
    From Austin’s frequently reprinted contribution to an Arist. Soc. Symp. (1946) on “Other Minds”.Google Scholar
  4. 7.
    As does Dretske, ibid, pp. 229f. Plato did too as, I believe, also did Aristotle, implicitly.Google Scholar
  5. 9.
    See p. 84 of the D. H. Mellor edition of Philosophical Papers (Cambridge, 1990 ).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. S. Shwayder
    • 1
  1. 1.University of IllinoisUrbanaUSA

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