Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) has grown considerably over the past three decades. One form of SRI, engagement-SRI, is today by far the most practiced form of SRI (in assets managed) and has the potential to mainstream SRI even further. However, lack of formalized engagement procedures and evaluation tools leave the engagement practice too opaque for such a mainstreaming. This article can be considered as a first step in the development of a standard for the engagement practice. By developing an engagement (...) heuristic, this article offers a more transparent engagement dialog. Drawing on Stevenson’s and Austin’s speech-act theories, this article develops a classification of management’s responses to the signaling of allegations and controversies on two dimensions: a factual dimension concerning (dis)agreements on factual claims and an attitudinal dimension concerning (dis)agreements on responsibilities, values, and norms. On the basis of the distinctions this article develops, the authors provide for a synoptic table and offer a next-step heuristic for the engagement process that started with signaling a concern to management. The article uses an engagement logic that, while keeping the exit option for the investor open, allows management to address signaled concerns without having to let down or to opt out at the first setback in the dialog process between investor and investee corporation. (shrink)
According to the pragma-dialectical approach to argumentation, for analysing argumentative discourse, a normative reconstruction is required which encompasses four kinds of transformations. It is explained in this paper how speech act conditions can play a part in carrying out such a reconstruction. It is argued that integrating Searlean insights concerning speech acts with Gricean insights concerning conversational maxims can provide us with the necessary tools. For this, the standard theory of speech acts has to be amended in (...) several respects and the conversational maxims have to be translated into speech act conditions. Making use of the rules for communication thus arrived at, and starting from the distribution of speech acts in a critical discussion as specified in the pragma-dialectical model, it is then demonstrated how indirect speech acts are to be transformed when reconstructing argumentative discourse. (shrink)
This paper is an attempt to give a general explanation of pragmatic aspects of linguistic negation. After a brief survey of classical accounts of negation within pragmatic theories (as speech act theory, argumentation theory and polyphonic theory), the main pragmatic uses of negation (illocutionary negation, external negation, lowering and majoring negation) are discussed within relevance theory. The question of the relevance of negative utterance is raised, and a general inferential schema (based on the so-called invited inference) is proposed and (...) tested for the main uses of negation discussed in the paper. (shrink)
Building on the work of Peter Hinst and Geo Siegwart, we develop a pragmatised natural deduction calculus, i.e. a natural deduction calculus that incorporates illocutionary operators at the formal level, and prove its adequacy. In contrast to other linear calculi of natural deduction, derivations in this calculus are sequences of object-language sentences which do not require graphical or other means of commentary in order to keep track of assumptions or to indicate subproofs. (Translation of our German paper "Ein Redehandlungskalkül. Ein (...) pragmatisierter Kalkül des natürlichen Schließens nebst Metatheorie"; online available at http://philpapers.org/rec/CORERE.). (shrink)
Foundations of Speech Act Theory investigates the importance of speech act theory to the problem of meaning in linguistics and philosophy. The papers in this volume, written by respected philosophers and linguists, significantly advance standards of debate in this area.
This paper applies speech-act theory to craft a new response to Pyrrhonian skepticism and diagnose its appeal. Carefully distinguishing between different levels of language-use and noting their interrelations can help us identify a subtle mistake in a key Pyrrhonian argument.
In this essay I show how to reconcile epistemic invariantism with the knowledge account of assertion. My basic proposal is that we can comfortably combine invariantism with the knowledge account of assertion by endorsing contextualism about speech acts. My demonstration takes place against the backdrop of recent contextualist attempts to usurp the knowledge account of assertion, most notably Keith DeRose's influential argument that the knowledge account of assertion spells doom for invariantism and enables contextualism's ascendancy.
We provide an overview of Searle's contributions to speech act theory and the ontology of social reality, focusing on his theory of constitutive rules. In early versions of this theory, Searle proposed that all such rules have the form 'X counts as Y in context C' formula – as for example when Barack Obama (X) counts as President of the United States (Y) in the context of US political affairs. Crucially, the X and the Y terms are here identical. (...) A problem arises for this theory for cases involving 'free-standing Y terms', as for example in the case of money in a computerized bank account. Here there is no physical X to which a status function might be attached. We conclude by arguing that Searle's response to this problem creates difficulties for his naturalistic framework. (shrink)
Ethical oaths for bankers, economists and managers are increasingly seen as successful instruments to ensure more responsible behaviour. In this article, we reflect on the nature of ethical oaths. Based on John Austin's speech act theory and the work of Emmanuel Levinas, we introduce a performative concept of ethical oaths that is characterised by (1) the existential self-performative of the one I want to be, which is (2) demanded by the public context. Because ethical oaths are (3) structurally threatened (...) by the possibility of infelicity or failure, we stress (4) the behavioural aspect of ethical oaths in economics and business. We conclude that a performative concept of ethical oaths can contribute to more ethical behaviour in economics and business, because the performative involves action and behaviour. At the same time, it becomes clear that a radical new perspective on the nature, function and limitation of oaths is needed. (shrink)
Employs speech-act theory (a) to support the notion that biblical authors (not just their texts) are inspired and to (b) to make some points about how we ought to react to scripture—in a nutshell, scriptural passages vary in their illocutionary force, so appropriate responses will vary as well.
In Insensitive Semantics (2004), we argue for two theses – Semantic Minimalism and Speech Act Pluralism. In this paper, we outline our defense against two objections often raised against Semantic Minimalism. To get to that defense, we first need some stage setting. To that end, we begin with five stage setting sections. These lead to the first objection, viz., that it might follow from our view that comparative adjectives are context insensitive. We defend our view against that objection (not, (...) as you might expect, by denying that implication, but by endorsing it). Having done so, we address a second objection, viz., that Semantic Minimalism makes it difficult to see what role semantic content plays in communicative exchanges. We respond and end with a reversal, i.e., we argue that even though the second objection fails against us, it works against those who raise the objection. In particular, we show that Recanati ends up with a notion of communicated content that fails various tests for psychological reality. (shrink)
Recently, several philosophers have recast feminist arguments against pornography in terms of Speech Act Theory. In particular, they have considered the ways in which the illocutionary force of pornographic speech serves to set the conventions of sexual discourse while simultaneously silencing the speech of women, especially during unwanted sexual encounters. Yet, this raises serious questions as to how pornographers could (i) be authorities in the language game of sex, and (ii) set the conventions for sexual discourse - (...) questions which these speech act-theoretic arguments against pornography have thus far failed to adequately answer. I fill in this gap of the argumentation by demonstrating that there are fairly weak standards for who counts as an authority or convention-setter in sexual discourse. With this analysis of the underpinnings of a speech act analysis of pornography in mind, I discuss a range of possible objections. I conclude that (i) the endorsement of censorship by a speech act analysis of pornography competes with its commitment to the conventionality of speech acts, and, more damningly, that (ii), recasting anti-pornography arguments in terms of linguistic conventions risks an unwitting defence of a rapist's lack of mens rea - an intolerable result; and yet resisting this conclusion requires that one back away from the original claim to women's voices being 'silenced'. (shrink)
Understanding what it means toconsent is of considerable importance sincesignificant moral issues depend on how this actis defined. For instance, determining whetherconsent has occurred is the deciding factor insexual assault cases; its proper occurrence isa necessary condition for federally fundedhuman subject research. Even though mosttheorists recognize the legal and moralimportance of consent, there is still littleagreement concerning how consent should bedefined, or whether different domains involvingconsent demand context-specific definitions.Understanding what it means to consent isfurther complicated by the fact that currentlegal (...) conceptions are not necessarily groundedin argument; they typically depend on appealsto authority and precedent. The purpose ofthis paper is to use speech act theory toprovide a theoretically grounded conception ofconsent; such a conception can aid in the justresolution of legal and moral disputes thathinge on whether an act of consent occurred. (shrink)
Philosophers concerned with speech acts, or Wittgenstein's uses of language , mostly fix their attention on actions done by issuing just a phrase or short sentence (in the appropriate circumstances with the proper qualifications, feeling, intent, uptake, etc.). "Five red apples" is Wittgenstein's paradigm example in his Philosophical Investigations . "There's a bittern at the bottom of your garden" plays a similar role in J. L. Austin's most central and ambitious essay, "Other Minds." Indeed, as Wittgenstein points out, a (...) single word or gesture may do the job perfectly well, just as an illiterate man can make a valid contract by marking an "X" on a piece of paper. And, of course, in all relevant philosophical respects, a speech act may be written rather than spoken: in his leitmotiv example, Wittgenstein.. (shrink)
For the past two decades, speech-act theory has been one of the basic tools for studying pragmatics from both a theoretical and an experimental perspective. In this paper, I want to discuss certain aspects of the theory with respect to data from early communication in children. My aim will be to show that some of the central assumptions of the speech-act model of utterance comprehension need to be rethought. In the second part of the paper, I will outline (...) a different pragmatic approach to verbal understanding and present a preliminary application of this approach to the developmental data. (shrink)
In Insensitive Semantics (2004), we argue for two theses â€“ Semantic Minimalism and Speech Act Pluralism.Â In this paper, we outline our defense against two objections often raised against Semantic Minimalism. We begin with five stage-setting sections. These lead to the first objection, viz., that it might follow from our view that comparative adjectives are context insensitive. We defend our view against that objection (not, as you might expect, by denying that implication, but by endorsing it). Having done so, (...) we address a second objection, viz., that Semantic Minimalism makes it difficult to see what role semantic content plays in communicative exchanges. We respond and end with a reversal, i.e., we argue that even though the second objection fails against us, it works against those who raise the objection. In particular, we show that our critics, especially, Carston (2002) and Recanati (2004), end up with a notion of communicated content that fails various tests for psychological reality. (shrink)
Understanding what it means to consent is of considerable importance since significant moral issues depend on how this act is defined. For instance, determining whether consent has occurred is the deciding factor in sexual assault cases; its proper occurrence is a necessary condition for federally funded human subject research. Even though most theorists recognize the legal and moral importance of consent, there is still little agreement concerning how consent should be defined, or whether different domains involving consent demand context-specific definitions. (...) Understanding what it means to consent is further complicated by the fact that current legal conceptions are not necessarily grounded in argument; they typically depend on appeals to authority and precedent. The purpose of this paper is to use speech act theory to provide a theoretically grounded conception of consent; such a conception can aid in the just resolution of legal and moral disputes that hinge on whether an act of consent occurred. (shrink)
En el presente artículo se defiende que el estudio de una familia particular de actos de habla, los actos ilocucionarios hostiles, nos da la clave para reexaminar cuatro importantes cuestiones fundacionales de la teoría de los actos de habla: la distinción ilocucionario/perlocucionario, la noción de infortunio, la cuestión de la primacía de la primera sobre la tercera persona en el estudio de la fuerza, y la cuestión de la posibilidad de una teoría general y sistemática del fenómeno de la fuerza. (...) /// In this paper I argüe that the study of a particular family of speech acts, the hostile illocutionary acts, gives us the key for the re-examination of four important foundational questions in speech act theory: the illocutionary/perlocutionary distinction, the notion of infelicity, the question of the primacy of first versus third person perspective in the study of forcé, and the question of the possibility of a general and systematic theory of the phenomenon of force. (shrink)
I argue that john r searle's speech-Act theory of meaning violates his own requirement that such a theory specify a set of conditions for the performance of a certain illocutionary (speech) act which does not include the performance of any other illocutionary act. For the "propositional act" mentioned in searle's analysans is in actuality an illocutionary act. Then I show that any speech-Act theory must include a subsidiary speech act in the analysans. Since the analysans must (...) not contain such an act, Such an analysis is impossible. (shrink)
I argue that Derrida's critique of speech act theory is largely unsustainable because of its reliance on a questionable and insufficiently explicated conception of philosophy as negative metaphysics, and its attendant misconception of scientific theory construction in general and speech act theory in particular.
The theory of speech acts put forward by Adolf Reinach in his "The A Priori Foundations of the Civil Law" of 1913 rests on a systematic account of the ontological structures associated with various different sorts of language use. One of the most original features of Reinach's account lies in hIs demonstration of how the ontological structure of, say, an action of promising or of commanding, may be modified in different ways, yielding different sorts of non-standard instances of the (...) corresponding speech act varieties. The present paper is an attempt to apply this idea of standard and modified instances of ontological structures to the realm of judgement and cognition, and thereby to develop a Reinachian theory of how intentionality is mediated through language in acts of thinking and speaking. (shrink)
In W v M, a judge concluded that M's past statements should not be given weight in a best interests assessment. Several commentators in the ethics literature have argued this approach ignored M's autonomy. In this short article I demonstrate how the basic tenets of speech act theory can be used to challenge the inherent assumption that past statements represent an individual's beliefs, choices or decisions. I conclude that speech act theory, as a conceptual tool, has a valuable (...) contribution to make to this debate. (shrink)
It is now generally recognized that figures such as Reid, Peirce, and Reinach formulated theories of speech acts avant la lettre of Austin and Searle, in Reid and Reinach’s cases under the heading ‘theory of social acts’. Here we address the question as to what conditions would have to be satisfied for such theories to count as ‘theories of speech acts’ in the now familiar sense.
I focus on one approach to understanding quotation, the identity theory; I delineate varieties thereof; and I cite some considerations for favoring a speech-act version. Along the way we shall see how the study of quotation can illuminate the general conflict between speech-act semantics and formal semantics, and we shall see fresh arguments for insisting that the mechanism of quotation is referentially indeterminate.
That uses of language not only can, but even normally do have the character of actions was a fact largely unrealised by those engaged in the study of language before the present century, at least in the sense that there was lacking any attempt to come to terms systematically with the action-theoretic peculiarities of language use. Where the action-character of linguistic phenomena was acknowledged, it was normally regarded as a peripheral matter, relating to derivative or nonstandard aspects of language which (...) could afford to be ignored. (shrink)
The idea of a theory of speech acts, when taken in its strict sense,1 has been employed of late to indicate a bundle of theories growing out of J. L. Austin’s How to Do Things with Words of 1962. John Searle’s book Speech Acts, published in 1969, is undoubtedly the most conspicuous contribution to this theory to date. With the lapse of time, however, our distance to these fundamental works has become great enough to allow some reflection on (...) the criteria which must be met by a ‘theory of speech acts’ properly so called, so that it has become possible also to consider in this light candidate.. (shrink)
In this paper I want to examine the concept of 'conditions of fulfilment' or 'compliance' or 'satisfaction' which have been introduced by some authors in order to provide analyses of meaning which are just as adequate to directive speech acts as truth-conditional semantics are (claimed to be) adequate to assertive speech acts. It will be argued that this aim is missed. Most analyses (except those of some primitive cases) will remain throughout imcomplete as long as they are not (...) supplemented by a specification of conditions of normative validity. In the case of several illocutionary verbs they can be substituted by conditions under which the speaker could make use of sanctions against the hearer. (shrink)
The essay provides an account of the development of Reinach’s philosophy of “Sachverhalte” (states of affairs) and on problems in the philosophy of law, leading up to his discovery of the theory of speech acts in 1913. Reinach’s relations to Edmund Husserl and to the Munich phenomenologists are also dealt with.
The paper reconstructs and discusses three different approaches to the study of speech acts: (i) the intentionalist approach, according to which most illocutionary acts are to be analysed as utterances made with the Gricean communicative intentions, (ii) the institutionalist approach, which is based on the idea of illocutions as institutional acts constituted by systems of collectively accepted rules, and (iii) the interactionalist approach the main tenet of which is to perform illocutionary acts by making conventional moves in accordance with (...) patterns of social interaction. It is claimed that, first, each of the discussed approaches presupposes a different account of the nature and structure of illocutionary acts, and, second, all those approaches result from one-sided interpretations of Austin’s conception of verbal action. The first part of the paper reconstructs Austin's views on the functions and effects of felicitous illocutionary acts. Thesecond part reconstructs and considers three different research developments in the post-Austinian speech act theory—the intentionalist approach, the institutionalist approach, and the interactionalist approach. (shrink)
Speech act theory seems to provide a promising avenue for the analysis of the functional organization of argument. The theory, however, might be taken to suggest that arguments are a homogenous class of speech act with a specifiable illocutionary force and a single set of felicity conditions. This suggestion confuses the analysis of the meaning of speech act verbs with the analysis of the pragmatic structure of actual language use. Suggesting that arguments are conveyed through a homogeneous (...) class of linguistic action overlooks the way in which the context of activity and the form of expression organize the argumentative functions performed in using language. An alternative speech act analysis would treat folk terminology as a heuristic entry point into the development of a technical analysis of the myriad argumentative functions and structures to be found in natural language use. This would lead to a thorough-going pragmatic analysis of the rational and functional design of speech acts in argumentation. (shrink)
I will argue that the logical form of illocutionary acts imposes certain formal constraints on the logical structure of a possible natural language as well as on the mind of competent speakers. In particular, certain syntactic, semantic and pragmatic features are universal because they are indispensable. Moreover, in order to perform and understand illocutionary acts, competent speakers and hearers must have certain mental states and abilities which are in general traditionally related to the faculty of reason. (edited).
Global society issues are putting increasing pressure on both small and large organizations to communicate ethically at all levels. Achieving this requires social skills beyond the choice of language or vocabulary and relies above all on individual social responsibility. Arguments from social contract philosophy and speech act theory lead to consider a communication contract that identifies the necessary individual skills for ethical communication on the basis of a limited number of explicit clauses. These latter are pragmatically binding for all (...) partners involved and help to ensure that the ground rules of cooperative communication are observed within a group or an organization. Beyond promoting ethical communication, the communication contract clarifies how individual discursive behaviour can be constructively and ethically monitored by group leaders in business meetings. A case study which shows what may happen when ground clauses of ethical communication are violated is presented. The conclusions of the study highlights why attempting to respect the communication contract is in the best interest of all partners at all levels within any group or organization. (shrink)
Even though the lines of thought that support skepticism are extremely compelling, we're inclined to look for ways of blocking them because it appears to be an impossible view to accept, both for intellectual and practical reasons. One goal of this paper is to show that when skepticism is packaged right, it has few problematic implications (or at least fewer than is often assumed). It is, for example, compatible with all the following claims (when these are correctly interpreted).
This paper deals with two distinct topics; unwarranted questions and admittures. The traditional speech act analysis of questions needs revision, since among the felicity conditions of asking a question is believing that the question is warranted. Some questions are unwarranted according to my analysis. A question is unwarranted if the questioner is not standing in the right relation to the addressee, such that he can demand or expect a sincere answer. I use the idea of unwarranted questions to show (...) how conversational admittures can be generated. A conversational admitture is a non-intended admittance by the speaker of some state of affairs being believed by the speaker to be true. Under the assumption that the speaker is rational, the non-intended admittance is something that it is reasonable to credit the speaker with believing as an explanation of the speaker's unwillingness to be cooperative in a given conversation. In the last section I introduce what I call the Principle of Privacy, which tells us that we have a prima facie right to guard some of our thoughts, feelings, personal history, etc. I argue that the Principle of Privacy together with the ideas that there are unwarranted questions and conversational admittures, and the way unwarranted questions can be exploited to generate the latter, endows us with the right to lie in certain contexts. ; ; . (shrink)
That uses of language not only can, but even normally do have the character of actions was a fact largely unrealised by those engaged in the study of language before the present century, at least in the sense that there was lacking any attempt to come to terms systematically with the action-theoretic peculiarities of language use. Where the action-character of linguistic phenomena was acknowledged, it was normally regarded as a peripheral matter, relating to derivative or non-standard aspects of language which (...) could afford to be ignored. (shrink)
I demonstrate that a "speech act" theory of meaning for imperatives is—contra a dominant position in philosophy and linguistics—theoretically desirable. A speech act-theoretic account of the meaning of an imperative !φ is characterized, broadly, by the following claims. -/- LINGUISTIC MEANING AS USE !φ’s meaning is a matter of the speech act an utterance of it conventionally functions to express—what a speaker conventionally uses it to do (its conventional discourse function, CDF). -/- IMPERATIVE USE AS PRACTICAL !φ's (...) CDF is to express a practical (non-representational) state of mind—one concerning an agent's preferences and plans, rather than her beliefs. -/- Opposed to speech act accounts is a preponderance of views which deny that a sentence's linguistic meaning is a matter of what speech act it is used to perform, or its CDF. On such accounts, meaning is, instead, a matter of "static" properties of the sentence—e.g., how it depicts the world as being (or, more neutrally, the properties of a model-theoretic object with which the semantic value of the sentence co-varies). On one version of a static account, an imperative 'shut the window!' might, for instance, depict the world as being such that the window must be shut. -/- Static accounts are traditionally motivated against speech act-theoretic accounts by appeal to supposedly irremediable explanatory deficiencies in the latter. Whatever a static account loses in saying (prima facie counterintuitively) that an imperative conventionally represents, or expresses a picture of the world, is said to be offset by its ability to explain a variety of phenomena for which speech act-theoretic accounts are said to lack good explanations (even, in many cases, the bare ability to offer something that might meet basic criteria on what a good explanation should be like). -/- I aim to turn the tables on static accounts. I do this by showing that speech act accounts are capable of giving explanations of phenomena which fans of static accounts have alleged them unable to give. Indeed, for a variety of absolutely fundamental phenomena having to do with the conventional meaning of imperatives (and other types of practical language), speech act accounts provide natural and theoretically satisfying explanations, where a representational account provides none. (shrink)
meaning of a proper name is simply its referent. This thesis, however, brings with it a whole host of problems. One particularly thorny difficulty is that of negative existentials, sentences of the form â€˜N does not existâ€™ (where â€˜Nâ€™ is a proper name). Intuitively, some such sentences are true, but the direct reference theory seems to imply that they must be either false or meaningless. After all, if the meaning of a name is just its referent, then a sentence such (...) as â€˜Mary does not existâ€™ is meaningless unless there exists a person Mary who is the referent of the name â€˜Maryâ€™. But if such a person exists, then the sentence denying her existence must be false.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Now it might be suggested that negative existentials involve a rather rare and specialized use of names, for which an alternate analysis might well be appropriate. One might, for example, have independent reasons for thinking that existence is not a predicate. Even if this is right, however, the analysis of fictional discourse poses difficulties for the direct reference theory that cannot be so easily avoided. The trouble is that fictional namesâ€”â€˜Sherlock Holmesâ€™ and â€˜Bilbo Bagginsâ€™, for exampleâ€”lack referents; fictional characters do not exist. As a result, a simple application of the direct reference view to fictional discourse is entirely untenableâ€”this would entail that claims regarding fictional characters are not only never true, but always meaningless.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â The tendency in the philosophy of language has been to treat fictional discourse as a peripheral case, posing little threat to the direct reference view. And, as such, the fact that the analysis of fiction seems to run into intractable difficulties has been downplayed, and the fact the analyses on offer tend to be ad hoc has been tolerated. Typical strategies include treating fictional names as abbreviations for definite descriptions, supposing that fictional names occur within the scope of tacit fictive operators of various sorts, or taking them to directly refer to non-existent objects.. (shrink)
This paper is divided in five sections. Section 11.1 sketches the history of the distinction between speech act with negative content and negated speech act, and gives a general dynamic interpretation for negated speech act. “Downdate semantics” for AGM contraction is introduced in Section 11.2. Relying on semantically interpreted contraction, Section 11.3 develops the dynamic semantics for constative and directive speech acts, and their external negations. The expressive completeness for the formal variants of natural language utterances, (...) none of which is a retraction, has been proved in Section 11.4. The last section gives a laconic answer to the question posed in the title of the paper. (shrink)