The importance of being in earnest

Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 9 (1-4):374-383 (1966)
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The main purpose of the paper is to find illuminating and fruitful definitions of ?standard use?, ?misuse?, ?misleading use?, etc., as applied to our speech. The author first sets up two fundamental conditions for successful standard use of language: (1) that the statement should be given in the right circumstances, including the speaker's having a status such that he can make a statement of the kind in question; (2) that the speaker should mean what he says, in the sense that what he says is an unfeigned, genuine expression of his mind. If either of these conditions is not satisfied, the statement is to be classified as non?standard in some sense. But depending on whether or not the person addressed is aware of the fact that the condition is not satisfied, the statement will be classified in different ways. Thus, if condition 1 is not satisfied and the person addressed is aware of it, he should call it simply ?odd? use, sometimes ?nonsense?. However, if the person addressed is unaware of this fact, we should talk about ?misleading? use (e.g. if someone who is not in command gives a command; if someone who was not there tells about the event as if he were present). If condition 2 is not satisfied and the person addressed is aware of it, we get ?secondary? use (e.g. jokes, irony, quotation, politeness, flattery as an accepted part of the social game). However, if the person addressed is not aware of this fact, we get ?misuse? or ?parasitic? use (e.g. lying, boasting, bluffing, cajoling)



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