Performatives and descriptions

Inquiry 5 (1-4):12 – 45 (1962)
The purpose of this article is to outline a schematic system for describing texts or “discourses” with respect to discourse function. In this system the concepts of performative and of descriptive discourse function take a central position. Provisional explicate for the said two concepts are introduced. A special sort of performative is identified, viz. statements; the concept of statement is to function as a pragmatic counterpart to that of description. An examination and comparison is made of the requirements which the communication context of a discourse has to fulfil in order that this latter qualify as a performative in general or as a statement. Then the question is considered how a performative and a descriptive discourse can be “justified” or shown to be adequate. Eventually the aforesaid descriptive system is introduced, and the role is examined which the explicata of performative and descriptive discourse function may play in the philosophy of science and in axiology.
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    David Harrah (1961). A Logic of Questions and Answers. Philosophy of Science 28 (1):40-46.

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