Synthese 128 (1-2):183 - 228 (2001)

Nicholas Asher
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique
In this paper, we address several puzzles concerning speech acts, particularly indirect speech acts. We show how a formal semantictheory of discourse interpretation can be used to define speech acts and to avoid murky issues concerning the metaphysics of action. We provide a formally precise definition of indirect speech acts, including the subclass of so-called conventionalized indirect speech acts. This analysis draws heavily on parallels between phenomena at the speech act level and the lexical level. First, we argue that, just as co-predication shows that some words can behave linguistically as if they're `simultaneously' of incompatible semantic types, certain speech acts behave this way too. Secondly, as Horn and Bayer (1984) and others have suggested, both the lexicon and speech acts are subject to a principle of blocking or "preemption by synonymy": Conventionalized indirect speech acts can block their `paraphrases' from being interpreted as indirect speech acts, even if this interpretation is calculable from Gricean-style principles. We provide a formal model of this blocking, and compare it with existing accounts of lexical blocking.
Keywords Philosophy   Philosophy   Epistemology   Logic   Metaphysics   Philosophy of Language
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Reprint years 2004
DOI 10.1023/A:1010340508140
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References found in this work BETA

Convention: A Philosophical Study.David Kellogg Lewis - 1969 - Cambridge, MA, USA: Wiley-Blackwell.
A Natural History of Negation.Laurence R. Horn - 1989 - University of Chicago Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

The Problem with the Frege–Geach Problem.Nate Charlow - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 167 (3):635-665.
The Meaning of Imperatives.Nate Charlow - 2014 - Philosophy Compass 9 (8):540-555.
Clause-Type, Force, and Normative Judgment in the Semantics of Imperatives.Nate Charlow - 2018 - In Daniel Fogal Daniel Harris & Matt Moss (eds.), New Work on Speech Acts. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 67–98.
Convention and Common Ground.Bart Geurts - 2018 - Mind and Language 33 (2):115-129.

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