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.
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.
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)
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)
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.
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)
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)
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.
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)
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)
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)
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)
Reinach’s essay of 1911 establishes an ontological theory of logic, based on the notion of Sachverhalt or state of affairs. He draws on the theory of meaning and reference advanced in Husserl’s Logical Investigations and at the same time anticipates both Wittgenstein’s Tractatus and later speech act theorists’ ideas on performative utterances. The theory is used by Reinach to draw a distinction between two kinds of negative judgment: the simple negative judgment, which is made true by (...) a negative state of affairs; and the polemical negative judgment, which is a performative utterance in which the truth of some earlier judgment – typically a judgment made by some other person – is denied. (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 nonstandard aspects of language which (...) could afford to be ignored. (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)
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.
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)
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)
The tradition of realist phenomenology was founded in around 1902 by a group of students in Munich interested in the newly published Logical Investigations of Edmund Husserl. Initial members of the group included Johannes Daubert, Alexander Pfänder, Adolf Reinach and Max Scheler. With Reinach’s move to Göttingen the group acquired two new prominent members – Edith Stein and Roman Ingarden. The group’s method turned on Husserl’s idea that we are in possession a priori (which is to say: non-inductive) knowledge of (...) entities (for example, colors, tones, values, shapes) of a range of different sorts. Pfänder applied this method in his descriptive psychology of willing and motivation, Reinach (anticipating the later speech act theory) to what he called ‘social acts’, Stein to the ontology of communities, and Ingarden to works of art and aesthetic phenomena. The movement latter, through Ingarden, lived on in Poland, where it influenced the young Karol Wojtyła. (shrink)
Natural dialogue does not proceed haphazardly; it has an easily recognized “episodic” structure and coherence which conform to a well developed set of conventions. This paper represents these conventions formally in terms related to speech act theory and to a theory of action.The major formal unit, the dialogue game, specifies aspects of the communication of both participants in a dialogue. We define the formal notion of dialogue games, and describe some of the important games of English. Dialogue (...) games are conventions of interactive goal pursuit. Using them, each participant pursues his own goals in a way which sometimes serves the goals of the other. The idea of dialogue games can thus be seen as a part of a broader theoretical perspective which characterizes virtually all communication as goal pursuit activity.We also define and exemplify the property of Motivational Coherence of dialogues. Motivational Coherence can be used as an interpretive principle in explaining language comprehension.Actual dialogue games have a kind of causal connectedness which is not a consequence of their formal properties. This is explained in terms of a theory of action, which is also seen to explain a similar attribute of speech acts. (shrink)
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)
Barry Smith (2014). Document Acts. In Anita Konzelmann-Ziv & Hans Bernhard Schmid (eds.), Institutions, Emotions, and Group Agents. Contributions to Social Ontology. Springer.score: 80.7
The theory of document acts is an extension of the more traditional theory of speech acts advanced by Austin and Searle. It is designed to do justice to the ways in which documents can be used to bring about a variety of effects in virtue of the fact that, where speech is evanescent, documents are continuant entities. This means that documents can be preserved in such a way that they can be inspected and modified at successive (...) points in time and grouped together into enduring document complexes. We outline some components of a theory of document acts, and show how it can throw light on certain problems in Searle’s ontology of social reality. (shrink)
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)
Are government restrictions on hate speech consistent with the priority of liberty? This relatively narrow policy question will serve as the starting point for a wider discussion of the use and abuse of nonideal theory in contemporary political philosophy, especially as practiced on the academic left. I begin by showing that hate speech (understood as group libel) can undermine fair equality of opportunity for historically-oppressed groups but that the priority of liberty seems to forbid its restriction. This (...) tension between free speech and equal opportunity creates a dilemma for liberal egalitarians. Nonideal theory apparently offers an escape from this dilemma, but after examining three versions of such an escape strategy, I conclude that none is possible: liberal egalitarians are indeed forced to choose between liberty and equality in this case and others. I finish the paper by examining its implications for other policy arenas, including markets in transplantable human organs and women’s reproductive services. (shrink)
The previous volume of the series Logic, Methodology and Philosophy of Science at Warsaw University---entitled Imperatives from Different Points of View---was the first result of the project Theory of Imperatives and Its Applications realized by the group composed by Anna Brożek, Jacek Jadacki and Berislav Žarnić. The project was supported by the Foundation for Polish Science within the program Homing Plus. One of the most important points of this project was the International Symposium Imperatives in Theory and Practice (...) which took place in Warsaw, on the 18th and 19th May, 2012. The symposium was the meeting of many specialists in the domain of the theory of imperatives – from China, Croatia, Japan, Poland and The United States. Contents: Berislav Žarnić, Logical Root of Linguistic Commitment; Jacek Jadacki, Witwicki’s Square; Tomoyuki Yamada, On the Very Idea of Imperative Inference; Fengkui Ju, Semantics of Sentences in Mixed Moods of Indicative and Imperative; Piotr Kulicki & Robert Trypuz, Two Faces of Obligation; Bartosz Brożek, Types of Obligations; Anna Brożek, Functional Ambiguity of Imperatives; Anna Brożek, Logic of Prescriptions and Instruction; Aleksandra Horecka, Imperative Sentence as a Performative Sentence, which Refers to the Optative State of Affairs; Jakub Bazyli Motrenko, The Concept of Praxiological Directive; Maciej Witek, How to Establish Authority with Words: Imperative Utterances and Presupposition Accommodation; Wojciech Załuski, Remarks on the Lexical Order of Rawls’s Two Principles of Justice; Natalia Miklaszewska, Acts of Will as Convictions; Anna Brożek, Imperatives in the Gospel. (shrink)
The paper develops ethical guidelines for the development and usage of persuasive technologies (PT) that can be derived from applying discourse ethics to this type of technologies. The application of discourse ethics is of particular interest for PT, since ‘persuasion’ refers to an act of communication that might be interpreted as holding the middle between ‘manipulation’ and ‘convincing’. One can distinguish two elements of discourse ethics that prove fruitful when applied to PT: the analysis of the inherent normativity of acts (...) of communication (‘speech acts’) and the Habermasian distinction between ‘communicative’ and ‘strategic rationality’ and their broader societal interpretation. This essay investigates what consequences can be drawn if one applies these two elements of discourse ethics to PT. (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)
The notion of cognitive act is of importance for an epistemology that is apt for constructive type theory, and for epistemology in general. Instead of taking knowledge attributions as the primary use of the verb ‘to know’ that needs to be given an account of, and understanding a first-person knowledge claim as a special case of knowledge attribution, the account of knowledge that is given here understands first-person knowledge claims as the primary use of the verb ‘to know’. This (...) means that a cognitive act is an act that counts as cognitive from a first-person point of view. The method of linguistic phenomenology is used to explain or elucidate our epistemic notions. One of the advantages of the theory is that an answer can be given to some of the problems in modern epistemology, such as the Gettier problem. (shrink)
There is a long‐standing project in psychology the goal of which is to explain our ability to perceive speech. The project is motivated by evidence that seems to indicate that the cognitive processing to which speech sounds are subjected is somehow different from the normal processing employed in hearing. The Motor Theory of speech perception was proposed in the 1960s as an attempt to explain this specialness. The first part of this essay is concerned with the (...) Motor Theory's explanandum. It shows that it is rather hard to give a precise account of what the Motor Theory is a theory of. The second part of the essay identifies problems with the theory's explanans: There are difficulties in finding a plausible account of what the content of the Motor Theory is supposed to be. (shrink)
This paper explores the truism that people think about what they say. It proposes that, to satisfy their own goals, people often plan their speech acts to affect their listeners' beliefs, goals, and emotional states. Such language use can be modelled by viewing speech acts as operators in a planning system, thus allowing both physical and speech acts to be integrated into plans. Methodological issues of how speech acts should be defined in a planbased theory (...) are illustrated by defining operators for requesting and informing. Plans containing those operators are presented and comparisons are drawn with Searle's formulation. The operators are shown to be inadequate since they cannot be composed to form questions (requests to inform) and multiparty requests (requests to request). By refining the operator definitions and by identifying some of the side effects of requesting, compositional adequacy is achieved.The solution leads to a metatheoretical principle for modelling speech acts as planning operators. (shrink)