It is shown that at least part of the terminology of the theory of speech acts can be methodically introduced within the constructive ortholanguage-programm. There is evidence that a methodical constraint leads the reconstruction of the basic speech-act-types from requests via statements to questions. Moreover there is evidence that requests and questions don't involve "propositional acts".
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.
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)
I draw upon speech act theory to understand the speech acts appropriate to the multiple aims of scientific practice and the role of nonepistemic values in evaluating speech acts made relative to those aims. First, I look at work that distinguishes explaining from describing within scientific practices. I then argue speech act theory provides a framework to make sense of how explaining, describing, and other acts have different felicity conditions. Finally, I argue that if (...) explaining aims to convey understanding to particular audiences rather than describe literally across all contexts, then evaluating explanatory acts directed to the public or policymakers involves asking nonepistemic questions. (shrink)
Preliminary version of “Towards a History of Speech Act Theory”, in A. Burkhardt (ed.), Speech Acts, Meanings and Intentions. Critical Approaches to the Philosophy of John R. Searle, Berlin/New York: de Gruyter, 1990, 29–61.
Internalism and Externalism in Speech Act Theory Internalism and externalism are related doctrines in the philosophy of language and mind, mostly centered on the role of reference in the individuation of propositions. This debate has recently been extended in speech act theory from content to force. But here the landscape becomes more complicated. It has been recently argued that speech act theory got off the track after Austin by internalizing Austin's "felicity" conditions. In reply (...) it is noted that the issue of internalism and externalism is more nuanced—there are internal and external elements in many theories, and a preliminary categorization is attempted here. Furthermore, internalism also has its virtues, which are largely overlooked, and we attempt to redress that imbalance. (shrink)
Human rights, a language that keeps public order, is realised in ordinary life by language characteristics according to social rules. Despite this fact, research that considers the linguistic features of human rights relating to its use and effects in terms of the kingdom of God in the present world seems to have not been attempted or seldom attempted. Thus, this article proposes to examine the language of human rights by means of Speech Act Theory. The approach is predicated (...) upon the language use as performative acts. The approach shows the language of human rights with performative language by seeking to uncover the operation and effects of language of rights in real-life situations. The thrust of this article implies how we can explain the semantics of human rights and execute them in ordinary life in terms of God’s kingdom. (shrink)
Historical research has recently made it clear that, prior to Austin and Searle, the phenomenologist Adolf Reinach (1884-1917) developed a full-fledged theory of speech acts under the heading of what he called "social acts". He we consider a second instance of a speech act theory avant la lettre, which is to be found in the common sense philosophy of Thomas Reid (1710-1796). Reid’s s work, in contrast to that of Reinach, lacks both a unified approach and (...) the detailed analyses of pertinent examples. But his writings leave no doubt that he is acutely aware of the very problems concerning language structure and use out of which contemporary speech act theory has evolved and that he goes a good way towards solving these problems in the spirit of the modern theory. (shrink)
I argue that Derrida's critique of speech act theory is largely unsustainable because of its reliance on a questionable and insufficiently explicatedconception of philosophy as negative metaphysics8 and its attendant misconception of scientific theory construction in general and speech act theory in particular.
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)
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)
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)
Trust is central to our social lives in both epistemic and practical ways. Often, it is rational only given evidence for trustworthiness, and with that evidence is made available by communication. New technologies are changing our practices of communication, enabling increasing rich and diverse ways of ‘being there’, but at a distance. This paper asks: how does telepresent communication support evidence-constrained trust? In answering it, I reply to the leading pessimists about the possibility of the digital mediation of trust, Philip (...) Pettit and Hubert Dreyfus. I also rebut Media Richness Theory, which proposes a linear relationship between the volume of mediated information and the quality of communication. Positively, I develop a speech-act theory of digitally mediated communication, drawing on Austen’s identification of the illocutionary act. The choice of a particular technology of communication constitutes part of what is communicated, including a setting of the social ‘frame’, and thus the possibilities for trust to be sustained or eroded. How something is said is part of what it is that is said. (shrink)
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)
Are there universal transcendent features that any natural language must possess in order to provide for its human speakers adequate means of expression and of communication of their conceptual thoughts? As Frege, Austin and Searle pointed out, complete speech acts of the type called illocutionary acts, and not isolated propositions, are the primary units of meaning in the use and comprehension of language. Thus it is in the very performance of illocutionary acts that speakers express and communicate their thoughts. (...) For this reason, speech act theory contributes to the theory of linguistic universals in formulating the necessary and universal laws governing the successful performance and satisfaction of illocutionary acts in language use and comprehension. 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.Há características transcendentes universais que qualquer linguagem natural tem que possuir para fornecer meios adequados de expressão e de comunicação de pensamentos conceituais aos seus falantes humanos? Como Frege, Austin e Searle mostraram, atos de fala completos do tipo denominado atos ilocucionários, e não proposições isoladas, são as unidades primárias de significado no uso e compreensão da linguagem. Assim, é no exato desempenho dos atos ilocucionários que os falantes expressam e comunicam os seus pensamentos. Por esta razão, a teoria dos atos de fala contribui para a teoria dos universais lingüísticos, formulando as leis necessárias e universais que governam o desempenho bem-sucedido e a satisfação dos atos ilocucionários no uso e compreensão da linguagem. Eu argumentarei que a forma lógica dos atos ilocucionários impõe certas restrições formais na estrutura lógica de uma possível linguagem natural como também na mente de falantes competentes. Em particular, certos aspectos sintáticos, semânticos e pragmáticos são universais porque eles são indispensáveis. Além disso, a fim de desempenhar e entender os atos ilocucionários, os falantes e ouvintes competentes têm que ter certos estados mentais e habilidades que estão, em geral, tradicionalmente relacionadas à faculdade de razão. (shrink)
Illocutionary Force and Romanian Orthodox Sermons: An Application of Speech Act Theory to Some Romanian Orthodox Sermons The aim of the paper is to analyze religious discourse with the use of the instruments of semantics and pragmatics. Essentially, it sets out to identify the linguistic elements which enable the illocutionary force in the Romanian orthodox sermons, especially in the discourse of some important figures which have influenced and still influence the Romanian orthodox theology and the religious life in (...) Romania: Father Cleopa, Father Nicolae Steinhardt, and, nowadays, Father Teofil Pârâianu. It is usually assumed that a sermon implies, on the one hand, a kerugmatik action, that of annunciation, and, on the other hand, a translating action of the biblical induce the human will to practice the words in order to Christian precepts. Mutatis mutandis, the perlocutionary effect depends on the illocutionary act and of the illocutionary force. In theory, the illocutionary force of an utterance is strictly motivated by the pragmatic. But there are linguistic elements which function as efficient markers of the illocutionary force, for example performative verbs, verbal moods and some adverbs. The criteria proposed by Searle in order to differentiate the illocutionary acts resulted in the identification of several types inside this class. Searle's taxonomy serves the research purposes: the identification of illocutionary acts found in this kind of religious discourse and, finally, outlining a pattern of manifestation of the illocutionary force inside the sermon. (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)
The article compares David Humes’ and John Searle’s positions concerning the relation between descriptive and evaluative statements. Although the two positions seem to be just opposite in that Hume denies the derivability of the ought from the is, while Seale accepts it, the author shows that Hume and Searle have many similarities, for for both obligations rely upon the institution of promising. The difference is that for Hume the speech act of promising as such does not have intrinsic evaluative (...) impact. Only in the civil state can the calm passions emerge which give to the motivation to act its ought-character. For Searle, on the contrary, the evaluative character is intrinsically linked to the speech act of promising, so that it becomes possible to derive the ought from the is. At the end the question of the relation between institutional and moral institutions is addressed. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to reformulate the Linguistic Underdeterminacy Thesis by making use of Austin’s theory of speech acts. Viewed from the post-Gricean perspective, linguistic underdeterminacy consists in there being a gap between the encoded meaning of a sentence uttered by a speaker and the proposition that she communicates. According to the Austinian model offered in this paper, linguistic underdeterminacy should be analysed in terms of semantic and force potentials conventionally associated with the lexical and syntactic (...) properties of the pheme uttered by the speaker; in short, it is claimed that the conventionally specified phatic meaning of an utterance underdetermines its content and force. This Austinian version of the Linguistic Underdeterminacy Thesis plays a central role in a contextualist model of verbal communication. The model is eliminativist with respect to rhetic content and illocutionary force: it takes contents and forces to be one-off constructions whose function is to classify individual utterances in terms of their representational and institutional effects, respectively. (shrink)
Usually the ethics of humor revolves around the content of humor. After giving a synopsis and exposing some shortcomings of the recent controversies, this paper takes into account additional aspects and proposes a change of perspective from token to type level and deploys tools of the philosophy of language to tackle the question whether a joke as a type can be considered morally flawed irrespective of its tokens. After exploring possible ways one can think of to furnish evidence for the (...) opposite position, two novel lines of argumentation based on counterfactual conditionals and speech act theory are provided to show that these ways aren’t viable and that joke as types (even offensive jokes like sexist or racist ones) are ethically neutral. Moreover, the presented approach increases the resolution of the debate and provides a framework to capture other hitherto neglected questions of the philosophy humor as well. (shrink)
_Insensitive Semantics_ is an overview of and contribution to the debates about how to accommodate context sensitivity within a theory of human communication, investigating the effects of context on communicative interaction and, as a corollary, what a context of utterance is and what it is to be in one. Provides detailed and wide-ranging overviews of the central positions and arguments surrounding contextualism Addresses broad and varied aspects of the distinction between the semantic and non-semantic content of language Defends a (...) distinctive and explanatorily powerful combination of semantic minimalism and speech act pluralism Confronts core problems which not only run to the heart of philosophy of language and linguistics, but which arise in epistemology, metaphysics, and moral philosophy as well. (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)
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).