Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 10 (4):275-281 (2021)

Ori Simchen
University of British Columbia
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.
Keywords performatives  speech acts
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Reprint years 2021
DOI 10.1002/tht3.505
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