Robert Audi introduced a distinction between testifying that p and giving assurance that p to address a counterexample to his view that knowledge can’t be acquired from false testimony. So, if Joey comes to learn that there will be presents this year because Mama says, “Santa Claus will bring presents this year,” Robert holds that Mama gave assurance, but did not testify, that there will be presents this year.
He also argued for this distinction by claiming that Mama didn’t say that there will be presents this year.
I’m not sure about this, but I wonder. First, I wonder if testifying versus giving assurances tracks the distinction between what one said and what one didn’t. Second, I wonder whether it is true that Mama didn’t say that there will be presents. We don’t say everything entailed by our words, but we often say things beyond our literal words–that’s part of what Gricean mechanisms yield. I’m not sure about this, but I lean toward thinking that Mama did say that there will be presents this year, and the story of why she said it even though those weren’t her exact words is a pragmatic story of some sort.