I propose an account of the speech act of prediction that denies that the contents of prediction must be about the future and illuminates the relation between prediction and assertion. My account is a synthesis of two ideas: (i) that what is in the future in prediction is the time of discovery and (ii) that, as Benton and Turri recently argued, prediction is best characterized in terms of its constitutive norms.
What role does audience uptake play in determining whether a speaker refuses or consents to sex? Proponents of constitution theories of uptake argue that which speech act someone performs is largely determined by their addressee’s uptake. However, this appears to entail a troubling result: a speaker might be made to perform a speech act of sexual consent against her will. In response, we develop a social constitution theory of uptake. We argue that addressee uptake can constitute a speaker’s utterance of (...) ‘no’ as a speech act of consent under some conditions, but that this does not prevent us from judging that an addressee committed rape. Second, we claim that addressee uptake is not the only form of uptake that matters—the uptake of other members of the discursive community matters too, and can override the addressee’s uptake, constituting the speaker’s utterance as the speech act it was intended to be. (shrink)
This paper presents a study into the Hindi-Urdu 'na' as a sentence-final particle. Although also used as a topic marker and negation, 'na' occurs sentence-finally across clause-types. In light of the data, we think the following hypothesis offers the best fit: 'na' signals the speaker’s belief that the content of na’s containing clause is a reasonable inference, given what’s common ground. Notably, in addition to other clause-types, we explore na's distribution in exclamations and exclamatives. We link our work to recent (...) research on the polar question particle 'kya' in Hindi-Urdu. (shrink)
Many philosophers think that forgiveness is a private affair. Some say forgiveness is the forswearing or overcoming or moderating of resentment (or other negative emotions). Others say that to forgive is to refuse to punish. Some say forgiveness is openness to reconciliation with one’s wrongdoer. According to these approaches, forgiveness involves certain changes in one’s beliefs, desires, feelings, emotions, decisions, intentions, commitments, and memories. What these accounts all have in common is that they locate forgiveness in the realm of the (...) mental. But there is also a strand of thinking that says that paradigmatic instances of forgiveness are performed, typically by saying something like “I forgive you.” In this chapter, I explain this view, defend it, and discuss some objections to it. (shrink)
Consider the opening sentence of Tolkien’s The Hobbit: In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. By writing this sentence, Tolkien is making a fictional statement. There are two influential views of the nature of such statements. On the pretense view, fictional discourse amounts to pretend assertions. Since the author is not really asserting, but merely pretending, a statement such as Tolkien’s is devoid of illocutionary force altogether. By contrast, on the alternative make-believe view, fictional discourse prescribes that (...) the reader make-believe the content of the statement. In this paper, we argue that neither of these views is satisfactory. They both fail to distinguish the linguistic act of creating the fiction, for instance Tolkien writing the sentence above, from the linguistic act of reciting it, such as reading The Hobbit out loud for your children. As an alternative to these views, we propose that the essential feature of the author’s speech act is its productive character, that it makes some state of affairs obtain in the fiction. Tolkien’s statement, we argue, has the illocutionary force of a declaration. (shrink)
This paper proposes an analysis of the discursive dynamics of high-impact concepts in the humanities. These are concepts whose formation and development have a lasting and wide-ranging effect on research and our understanding of discursive reality in general. The notion of a conceptual practice, based on a normative conception of practice, is introduced, and practices are identified, on this perspective, according to the way their respective performances are held mutually accountable. This normative conception of practices is then combined with recent (...) work from philosophy of science that characterizes concepts in terms of conceptual capacities that are productive, open-ended, and applicable beyond the original context they were developed in. It is shown that the formation of concepts can be identified by changes in how practitioners hold exercise of their conceptual capacities accountable when producing knowledge about a phenomenon. In a manner similar to the use of operational definitions in scientific practices, such concepts can also be used to intervene in various discourses within or outside the conceptual practice. Using the formation of the concepts “mechanism” and “performative” as examples, the paper shows how high-impact concepts reconfigure what is at issue and at stake in conceptual practices. As philosophy and other humanities disciplines are its domain of interest, it is a contribution to the methodology of the humanities. (shrink)
As they make their way through Louis Althusser’s and Jacques Derrida’s texts, readers will cross innumerable curtains – ‘the words and things’, as Derrida says, as many fabrics of traces. These curtains open onto a multiplicity of scenes and mises en scène, performances, roles, rituals, actors, plays – thus unfolding the space of a certain theatricality. This essay traces Althusser’s and Derrida’s respective deployments of the theatrical motif. In his theoretical writings, Althusser’s theatrical dispositive aims to designate the practical and (...) material dimension of the scenes of ideology, materially enacted through roleplays, performances, acts, or discourses. At the horizon: a scientific discourse on ideology or, later, a strategic intervention in the class struggle. This scientific and/or strategic orientation echoes Althusser’s definition of materialism: ‘no more storytelling’. But Derrida’s ‘closure of representation’ reminds us that there’s no presence – even the most ‘material’ – no ‘truth’ or ‘correctness’ – in theoretical or strategic terms – without effects of re-presentation, differential repetition, narrative reconstruction: theatricality and materiality suppose a force of resistance, a secret heterogeneity, curtain foldings. Hence the irreducible necessity of reading, storytelling, transformative interpretation. What are the implications for thinking inheritance and debt – for example, the one binding Althusser and Derrida, and us to them? (shrink)
Although perlocution has received more interest lately, it remains the great unthought of Austin’s theory. The privilege he gives to illocution over perlocution, rather than being a necessity of his linguistic theory, is a contestable philosophical claim that leads him, I argue, to exclude from his consideration poetic and other ‘parasitical’ uses of language. Cavell’s reconceptualisation of perlocutions as ‘passionate utterances’, however, provides a more fruitful theoretical framework to approach poetic phenomena. Reading Austin through a Cavellian lens offers keys to (...) make space for the parasitic uses Austin rejected and for poetry within a philosophy of language. (shrink)
Ethics committees like Institutional Review Boards and Research Ethics Committees are typically empowered to approve or reject proposed studies, typically conditional on certain conditions or revisions being met. While some have argued this power should be primarily a function of applying clear, codified requirements, most institutions and legal regimes allow discretion for IRBs to ethically evaluate studies, such as to ensure a favourable risk-benefit ratio, fair subject selection, adequate informed consent, and so forth. As a result, ethics committees typically make (...) moral demands on researchers: require them to act in a way the committee considers ethically right or appropriate. This paper argues that moral demands are legitimate only if publicly justifiable; and as a result, committee decisions are subject to a public justification requirement. Ethics committees can permissibly request for more information, changes to the research protocol or that the research is delayed or even stopped only if these demands are publicly justifiable. This latter claim is in turn justified on the basis that moral demands to φ are permissible only if we are in a position to know that the addressee ought to φ and that we are in a position to know a proposition only if it is publicly justifiable. This argument suggests that ethics committees must consciously and explicitly appeal to public reasons in their decision-making. In cases where public reasons cannot be offered, committees would not be permitted to reject a given study or make approval conditional on an amendment. (shrink)
In a recent book (_Lying and insincerity_, Oxford University Press, 2018), Andreas Stokke argues that one lies iff one says something one believes to be false, thereby proposing that it becomes common ground. This paper shows that Stokke’s proposal is unable to draw the right distinctions about insincere performative utterances. The objection also has repercussions on theories of assertion, because it poses a novel challenge to any attempt to define assertion as a proposal to update the common ground.
In a series of articles (Pagin, 2004, 2009), Peter Pagin has argued that assertion is not a social speech act, introducing a method (which we baptize ‘the P-test’) designed to refute any account that defines assertion in terms of its social effects. This paper contends that Pagin's method fails to rebut the thesis that assertion is social. We show that the P-test is both unreliable (because it overgenerates counterexamples) and counterproductive (because it ultimately provides evidence in favor of some social (...) accounts). Nonetheless, we contend that assertion is not fully social. We defend an intermediate view according to which assertion is only a partly social speech act: assertions both commit the speaker to a proposition (a social component) and present their propositional content as true (a non-social component). The upshot is that assertion is in some important respect social, although it cannot be defined solely in terms of its social effects. (shrink)
Performative utterances such as ‘I promise you to φ’, issued under suitable conditions, have been claimed by Austin (1962) to constitute the enactment of something rather than the stating of something. They are thus not to be assessed in terms of truth and falsity. Subsequent theorists have typically contested half of this Austinian view, agreeing that a performative utterance such as ‘I promise you to φ’ is the enactment of a promise, but claiming that it is also a statement to (...) the effect that the promise is issued. I argue that speech-act-theoretically, uttering ‘I promise you to φ’ under suitable conditions is not also the statement that the promise is issued. This is compatible, however, with the fact that semantically, ‘I promise you to φ’ is true just in case my promise to you to φ is issued. (shrink)
A traditional problem with the performative hypothesis is that it cannot assign proper truth-conditions to a declarative sentence. This paper shows that the problem is solved by adopting a multidimensional semantics on which sentences have more than just truth-conditions. This is good news for those who want to at least partially revive the hypothesis. The solution also brings into focus a lesson about what issues to consider when drawing the semantics/pragmatics boundary.
One of the central figures of philosophy of language- John Langshaw Austin, attributes principles of causation to the mere pragmatic language. Conversely, Kant tried to construct a “free human act” which is independent from any physical determination except its innate motivations via his well-known the phenomenal / noumenal distinction. That kind of Kantian metaphysical ground which addresses to the noumenal field, he obviously tries to establish this behavioral causation again by denying Austinian style pragmatic propositions or illocutionary acts. I claimed (...) that sort of duality between Austin and Kant, creates an epistemological problem with how propositions and actions relate. From a Kantian position, it (indetermination) is overlooked by Austin's propositional doctrine, without being grounded on any universal principle, but only with propositions that embraced by speech act theory. (shrink)
For perhaps obvious reasons, reticence is not likely to recommend itself as a category with which to perform cross-cultural studies in philosophy. Again, to risk stating the obvious, the theme of reticence would in this context concern what philosophical arguments and texts leave unsaid as well as explicitly advise an audience to leave unsaid. By fixing our attention to gaps, silences, and times where the subject is changed as well as when any of the advice above is explicitly recommended, new (...) insights on how philosophical clarification and ethical cultivation are performed will come into view. That, at least, is the ambition of the present article on the Analects and Wittgenstein. The... (shrink)
In his last book, Le complexe des trois singes. Essai sur l’animalité humaine (2017), the French philosopher Étienne Bimbenet accuses “sensocentric” (« pathocentristes ») animal ethics of committing a performative contradiction: according to Bimbenet, these theories of animal rights — among which he focuses on the case of Zoopolis (2011) by Sue Donaldson and Will Kymlicka — would undermine themselves by means of declaring reason a “non-essential” feature of human beings, while at the same time those theories themselves can only (...) be understood as a highly rational human endeavour. As we will try to point out, the alleged performative contradiction does not actually take place. First of all, Donaldson and Kymlicka only describe reason as “non essential” when it comes to describing moral patients, not moral agents, and particularly not moral theoreticians. In the second place, Zoopolis presents itself explicitly as an effort in “articulating moral reasons” — not as a renouncement of reason as such. (shrink)
Not every speech act can be a lie. A good definition of lying should be able to draw the right distinctions between speech acts that can be lies and speech acts that under no circumstances are lies. This paper shows that no extant account of lying is able to draw the required distinctions. It argues that a definition of lying based on the notion of ‘assertoric commitment’ can succeed where other accounts have failed. Assertoric commitment is analysed in terms of (...) two normative components: ‘accountability’ and ‘discursive responsibility’. The resulting definition of lying draws all the desired distinctions, providing an intensionally adequate analysis of the concept of lying. (shrink)
[ENG] The aim of this paper is to analyze the „possibility puzzle” presented by Shapiro (2011) in the context of the debate between conventionalism and non-conventionalism in speech act theory. Conventionalism claims that for every speech act there is a pattern (convention) which determines its illocutionary force. To perform a felicitous speech act is to fulfil necessary and sufficient conditions for this particular speech act. Non-conventionalism criticizes the view that for every speech act there is a conventional pattern and hidden (...) conditions, which are to be fulfilled. This view maintains the conventional thesis for the so-called strict conventional speech acts (e.g. performatives), but negates using universal quantifier for so-called communicative speech acts whose aim is, in short, to express an intention and force someone to act by virtue of this intention. As in (Shapiro 2011), Phil said: in order for someone to have the power to make, change and apply rules, there has to be a rule that empowers someone to do so. This objection concerned „The First Legis- lator” only from the conventional perspective on speech acts. If it can be maintained that The First Legislator’s speech acts may be non-conventional, then Phil’s argument misses the point. Finally, I will emphasize that only lawyers analyze „the very first speech acts” whereas for philosophers, the problem of e.g. „the very first question” is less absorbing. -/- [PL] Celem niniejszego artykułu jest przedstawienie tak zwanej Aporii Phila (possibility puz- zle) przedstawionej przez Shapiro (2011) w kontekście sporu konwencjonalizm–nonkon- wencjonalizm w teorii aktów mowy. Konwencjonalizm utrzymuje, że dla każdego aktu mowy istnieje konwencja, która determinuje moc illokucyjną aktu. Wykonać w pełni for- tunny akt mowy to spełnić wystarczające i konieczne warunki określone dla danego aktu mowy. Nonkonwencjonalizm krytykuje pogląd, że dla każdego aktu mowy istnieje okre- ślona konwencja oraz ukryte warunki, które należy spełnić. Ten pogląd utrzymuje kon- wencjonalną tezę dla tak zwanych stricte konwencjonalnych aktów mowy (na przykład performatywów), ale neguje użycie dużego kwantyfikatora dla tak zwanych komunika- cyjnych aktów mowy, których celem jest, w skrócie, wyrażenie pewnej intencji i zmusze- nie kogoś poprzez jej wyrażenie do określonego postępowania. Phil, bohater historii z książki Shapiro (2011), podkreślił, iż zawsze musi istnieć reguła upoważniająca do two- rzenia prawa. Ten zarzut dotyczący „Pierwszego Legislatora” jest zasadny tylko z per- spektywy konwencjonalizmu. Jeżeli można utrzymywać, że akt mowy Pierwszego Legislatora może być nonkonwencjonalny, wtedy argument Phila jest nietrafny. Na końcu scharakteryzowany jest następujący fenomen: tylko prawnicy analizują „pierwsze akty mowy”, natomiast dla filozofów problem „pierwszego pytania” nie jest tak absorbujący. (shrink)
Over the last five decades, philosophers of language have looked into the mechanisms for doing things with words. The same attention has not been devoted to how to undo those things, once they have been done. This paper identifies and examines three strategies to make one’s speech acts undone—namely, Annulment, Retraction, and Amendment. In annulling an act, a speaker brings to light its fatal flaws. Annulment amounts to recognizing an act as null, whereas retraction and amendment amount to making it (...) null. Speakers employ retraction to cancel the deontic updates engendered by a given act. They instead use amendment to adjust its degree of strength. I will argue that annulling, retracting, and amending are second-order speech acts, whose felicity conditions vary with the type of illocution they operate on. Undoing is therefore conceived of as a form of doing. Furthermore, I claim that, in calling off our acts, we undo the conventional or illocutionary effects of our words while leaving intact their past causal or perlocutionary outcomes. (shrink)
We reflect on the nature of corporate codes of conduct is this article. Based on John Austin’s speech act theory, four characteristics of a performative concept of corporate codes will be introduced: 1) the existential self-performative of the firm identity, 2) which is demanded by and responsive to their stakeholders; 3) Because corporate codes are structurally threatened by the possibility of failure, 4) embracing the code not only consists in actual corporate responsible behaviour in light of the code, but in (...) the incessant recapturing of the code in the struggle of firms against the possible incongruence between their ethical principles and their actual responsible behaviour. A performative concept of corporate codes helps to bridge classical dichotomies like individualist versus collectivist approaches of moral agency and restrictive versus empowering ethics, and opens a new perspective on the interaction between individual ethical behaviour and the corporate institutionalisation of codes. (shrink)
Most work on reflexivity has focused on individuals exercising their reflexivity through discourse. However, agents have three major aspects (intentionality, causal efficacy and embodiment) and they are fundamentally social. This article examines the possibility of collective reflexivity conducted not just by saying, but also by doing—that is, through their embodiment. By expanding the concept of ‘performatives’ to encompass not just speech acts but also acts that speak (i.e. embodied activities as socially meaningful) and applying the work of Charles S. Peirce (...) in order to develop an ontology of embodied reflexivity, it becomes possible to determine several criteria defining embodied collective reflexivity. Assessing possibilities such as legislative debate, political demonstrations, religious ritual and dramatic performance reveals that a certain set of practices does in fact meet those criteria and discloses additional aspects of what constitutes embodied collective reflexivity. (shrink)
Declarations like “this meeting is adjourned” make certain facts the case by representing them as being the case. Yet surprisingly little attention has been paid to the mechanism whereby the utterance of a declaration can bring about a new state of affairs. In this paper, we use the incentivization account of institutional facts to address this issue. We argue that declarations can serve to bring about new states of affairs as their utterance have game theoretical import, typically in virtue of (...) the utterer signaling a commitment to act in an incentive-changing way. (shrink)
Individuals can do a broad variety of things with their words and enjoy different degrees of this capacity. What moderates this capacity? And in cases in which this capacity is unjustly disrupted, what is a good explanation for it? These are the questions I address here. I propose that speech capacity, understood as the capacity to do things with your words, is a structural property importantly dependent on individuals' position in a social structure. My account facilitates a non-individualistic explanation of (...) cases in which speech capacity is undermined due to speaker's perceived social identity, e.g. episodes of silencing. Instead of appealing to interlocutors' implicit bias against speaker's identity, a structural approach refers to the positions interlocutors occupy in the social structure and the discursive conventions operating upon those positions. I articulate my proposal drawing on the notion of affordances. Each position within a social structure is associated with its own range of speech affordances. Thus, speech capacity is a function of the probability distribution of speech affordances across positions in the structure. (shrink)
O presente artigo deseja estudar a questão da música enquanto linguagem e como seria a sua ação linguística dentro do campo da comunicabilidade e das mediações. Para isso, utilizando as ideias da Filosofia Analítica da Linguagem (especialmente Ludwig Wittgenstein, J. L. Austin e John Searle), serão analisados dois elementos da linguagem musical de épocas distintas e antagônicas: o leitmotiv (com enfoque em O Anel do Nibelungo, de Richard Wagner) e a fórmula (com enfoque em Licht, de Karlheinz Stockhausen). A ideia (...) aqui é verificar a autonomia da linguagem musical bem como as suas possibilidades de lógica ilocucionária. Palavras-chaves: Linguagem musical; Pragmática; Ação linguística. (shrink)
The paper develops a score-keeping model of illocutionary games and uses it to account for mechanisms responsible for creating institutional facts construed as rights and commitments of participants in a dialogue. After introducing the idea of Austinian games—understood as abstract entities representing different levels of the functioning of discourse—the paper defines the main categories of the proposed model: interactional negotiation, illocutionary score, appropriateness rules and kinematics rules. Finally, it discusses the phenomenon of accommodation as it occurs in illocutionary games and (...) argues that the proposed model presupposes an externalist account of illocutionary practice. (shrink)
Frege's philosophy of language includes detailed views on judgments. His formal logic - the Begriffsschrift - documents some of these views in the introduction and treatment of the judgment stroke. In current logic such an expression is either entirely ignored or, appearing as turnstile, plays an fundamentally different role. In this paper I put forward four claims: (i) Considering Frege's Begriffsschrift, it is methodologically palpable why the judgment stroke was omitted in nearly all logical systems developed after Frege. (ii) The (...) Frege-style inclusion of the judgment stroke in a formal language represents a partial implementation of results from speech act theory. (iii) A more comprehensive implementation, not limited to the judgment stroke, helps to satisfy justified expectations about formal languages and logical calculi. (iv) Such an implementation has not yet been achieved in the current logical mainstream. (shrink)
Several influential philosophical accounts of assertion have recently been claimed by Peter Pagin to commit a fundamental mistake. The present paper argues that Pagin's defence of that claim is flawed: The criterion he proposes for evaluating theories of assertion is unreliable; and even if it were supposed to be in itself reliable, it could not be used, in the way he proposes, either against the kinds of theories he intends to undermine or in favour of the kind of theory he (...) intends to support. (shrink)
John Austin (1911-1960) è stato uno dei filosofi britannici più influenti del suo tempo, per il rigore del pensiero, la personalità straordinaria e il metodo filosofico innovativo. A parere di John Searle Austin era molto amato e molto odiato dai contemporanei – disorientati da un pensiero che sembrava distruggere più che costruire, sfidare l'ortodossia della filosofia tradizionale ma anche dell'allora imperante empirismo logico, senza sostituirvi nessuna confortante nuova ortodossia. L'opera di Austin è tuttavia oggi poco conosciuta e gli elementi di (...) novità della sua riflessione non sufficientemente apprezzati. Costituiscono un'eccezione due risultati, universalmente riconosciuti e celebrati: da un lato la tecnica di analisi filosofica – quella versione della "filosofia linguistica" praticata da Austin con la pazienza, il rigore e il talento di un entomologo; dall'altro la teoria degli atti linguistici. Austin viene ricordato soprattutto per aver evidenziato la dimensione performativa che permea ogni nostro proferimento: con uno slogan diventato famoso, ogni dire è anche un fare. Una tesi con ripercussioni in aree di ricerca molto diverse, dalla filosofia del linguaggio all'etica, dalla filosofia politica al diritto, dalla linguistica alla filosofia femminista. Ci concentreremo qui sui contributi di Austin alla filosofia del linguaggio, ma faremo cenni anche estesi ai suoi contributi in epistemologia e teoria dell'azione, nonché al vivace dibattito che a partire dalla teoria degli atti linguistici si è sviluppato negli anni '60 e '70. Un dibattito che è tornato ad accendersi in tempi recentissimi nelle discussioni su libertà di espressione e censura. (shrink)
The new economic sociology claims to have adopted the notion of performativity from J.L Austin, has put it in new uses, and has given it new meanings. This is now spreading and has created another vogue term in the social and human sciences. The term is taken to cover all sorts of aspects in the ways in which the use of social scientific theories have consequences for the social world. The paper argues that the expansive use of 'performativity' obscures the (...) Austinian idea and thereby impoverishes the conceptual resources available for analyzing the nuances in the complex theory/world connections. Importantly, it blurs the difference between constitutive and causal relationships, both of which actually are involved. Instead of economics performs the economy as the sociologists say, it would make more sense to say, the economy performs economics – but even this would be undermotivated. (shrink)
Over the past thirty years, academic debate over pornography in the discourses of feminism and cultural studies has foundered on questions of the performative and of the word's definition. In the polylogue of Droit de regards, pornography is defined as la mise en vente that is taking place in the act of exegesis in progress. (Wills's idiomatic English translation includes an ‘it’ that is absent in the French original). The definition in Droit de regards alludes to the word's etymology (writing (...) by or about prostitutes) but leaves the referent of the ‘sale’ suspended. Pornography as la mise en vente boldly restates the necessary iterability of the sign and anticipates two of Derrida's late arguments: that there is no ‘the’ body and that performatives may be powerless. Deriving a definition of pornography from a truncated etymology exemplifies the prosthesis of origin and challenges other critical discourses to explain how pornography can be understood as anything more than ‘putting (it) up for sale’. (shrink)
The purpose of this paper is twofold. First, it aims at providing an account of an indirect mechanism responsible for establishing one's power to issue biding directive acts; second, it is intended as a case for an externalist account of illocutionary interaction. The mechanism in question is akin to what David Lewis calls presupposition accommodation: a rule-governed process whereby the context of an utterance is adjusted to make the utterance acceptable; the main idea behind the proposed account is that the (...) indirect power-establishing mechanism involves the use of imperative sentences that function as presupposition triggers and as such can trigger off the accommodating change of the context of their utterance. According to the externalist account of illocutionary interaction, in turn, at least in some cases the illocutionary force of an act is determined by the audience's uptake rather than by what the speaker intends or believes; in particular, at least in some cases it is the speaker, not her audience, who is invited to accommodate the presupposition of her act. The paper has three parts. The first one defines a few terms — i.e., an “illocution”, a “biding act”, the “audience's uptake” and an “Austinian presupposition” — thereby setting the stage for the subsequent discussion. The second part formulates and discusses the main problem of the present paper: what is the source of the agent's power to perform binding directive acts? The third part offers an account of the indirect power-establishing mechanism and discusses its externalist implications. (shrink)
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)
Several authors propose that performative speech acts are self-guaranteeing due to their self-referential nature (Searle 1989; Jary 2007). The present paper offers an analysis of self-referentiality in terms of truth conditional semantics, making use of Davidsonian events. I propose that hereby can denote the ongoing act of information transfer (more mundanely, the utterance) which thereby enters the meaning of the sentence. The analysis will be extended to cover self-referential sentences without the adverb hereby. While self-referentiality can be integrated in ordinary (...) truth conditional semantic analysis without being a mystery, the resulting account shows that self-referentiality in this sense is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for performative utterances. I propose that the second ingredient of performative utterances consists in an act of the speaker defining her utterance to be an act of the respective kind. The final theory can successfully predict the performativity, or lack thereof, of a wide range of performative sentences, and leads to an explicated interface between compositional sentence meaning and speech act. (shrink)
The term “performative” is used in at least two different senses. In the first sense, performatives are generatives, i.e. expressions by the use of which one creates new deontic states of affairs on the ground of extralinguistic conventions. In the second sense, performatives are operatives, i.e. expressions which contain verbal predicates and state their own utterances. In the article, both these types of expressions are compared to the class of imperatives which are characterized as expressions of the form “Let x (...) see to it that p” and typically express wishes. It is claimed that (1) only these imperatives are generatives which are uttered by deontic authorities, (2) no imperative is an imperative sensu stricto; (3) imperative operatives are used instead of “pure” imperatives in order to emphasize the force of resolution. (shrink)
This paper concerns the formal semantic analysis of imperative sentences. It is argued that such an analysis cannot be deferred to the semantics of propositions, under any of the three commonly adopted strategies: the performative analysis, the sentence radical approach to propositions, and the (nondeclarative) mood-as-operator approach. Whereas the first two are conceptually problematic, the third faces empirical problems: various complex imperatives should be analysed in terms of semantic operators over simple imperatives. One particularly striking case is the Dutch pluperfect (...) imperative. It is argued that this construction should be analysed as a genuine counterfactual imperative. On the constructive side, in the last part of the paper a formal semantic analysis of imperatives is presented, in the framework of Update Semantics. On this analysis, imperatives are sui generis semantic entities, on a par with propositions. The analysis also includes an account of the counterfactual imperatives. (shrink)
Dorit Bar-On aims to account for the distinctive security of avowals by appealing to expression. She officially commits herself only to a negative characterization of expression, contending that expressive behavior is not epistemically based in self-judgments. I argue that her account of avowals, if it relies exclusively on this negative account of expression, can't achieve the explanatory depth she claims for it. Bar-On does explore the possibility that expression is a kind of perception-enabling showing. If she endorsed this positive account, (...) her argument would re-gain an explanatory advantage over its rivals. But extending this account to linguistic expressive behavior would bring Bar-On very close to constitutive accounts of first-person authority. (shrink)
The aim of this contribution is to propose a natural implementation of the reflexive-referential theory advanced by Perry 2001 that aims at accounting for the reflexive character of explicit performative utterances. This is accomplished by introducing a reflexive-performative constraint on explicit performatives.
The aim of this contribution is to propose a natural implementation of the reflexive-referential theory advanced by Perry 2001 that aims at accounting for the reflexive character of explicit performative utterances. This is accomplished by introducing a reflexive-performative constraint on explicit performatives.
We present diverse evidence for the claim of Pullum and Rawlins (2007) that expressives behave differently from descriptives in constructions that enforce a particular kind of semantic identity between elements. Our data are drawn from a wide variety of languages and construction types, and they point uniformly to a basic linguistic distinction between descriptive content and expressive content (Kaplan 1999; Potts 2007).