This innovative collection addresses such themes as: the relation between the concept of truth and the success conditions of assertions and kindred speechacts the linguistic devices of expressing the truth of a proposition the relation ...
This innovative collection addresses such themes as: the relation between the concept of truth and the success conditions of assertions and kindred speechacts the linguistic devices of expressing the truth of a proposition the relation ...
_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)
Recent research has shown that the superlative quantifiers at least and at most do not have the same type of truth conditions as the comparative quantifiers more than and fewer than. We propose that superlative quantifiers are interpreted at the level of speechacts. We relate them to denegations of speechacts, as in I don’t promise to come, which we analyze as excluding the speech act of a promise to come. Calling such conversational (...) class='Hi'>acts that affect future permissible speechacts “meta-speechacts,” we introduce the meta-speech act of a GRANT of a proposition as a denial to assert the negation of that proposition. Superlative quantifiers are analyzed as quantifiers over GRANTS. Thus, John petted at least three rabbits means that the minimal number n such that the speaker GRANTs the proposition that John petted n rabbits is n = 3. We formalize this interpretation in terms of commitment states and commitment spaces, and show how the truth conditions that are derived from it are partly entailed and partly conversationally implicated. We demonstrate how the theory accounts for a wide variety of distributional phenomena of superlative quantifiers, including the contexts in which they can be embedded. (shrink)
The goal of this paper is an account of the semantics and pragmatics of exclamation. I focus on two key observations: first, that sentence exclamations like Wow, John bakes delicious desserts! and exclamatives like What delicious desserts John bakes! express that a particular proposition has violated the speaker’s expectations; and second, that exclamatives are semantically restricted in a way that sentence exclamations are not. In my account of these facts, I propose a characterization of illocutionary force of exclamation, a function (...) from propositions to speechacts of exclamation. The difference in meaning between sentence exclamations and exclamatives has consequences for the type of violated expectation. I end with a comparison to some previous approaches and a tentative extension of parts of the analysis to other constructions. (shrink)
Some of the systems used in natural language generation (NLG), a branch of applied computational linguistics, have the capacity to create or assemble somewhat original messages adapted to new contexts. In this paper, taking Bernard Williams’ account of assertion by machines as a starting point, I argue that NLG systems meet the criteria for being speech actants to a substantial degree. They are capable of authoring original messages, and can even simulate illocutionary force and speaker meaning. Background intelligence embedded (...) in their datasets enhances these speech capacities. Although there is an open question about who is ultimately responsible for their speech, if anybody, we can settle this question by using the notion of proxy speech, in which responsibility for artificial speechacts is assigned legally or conventionally to an entity separate from the speech actant. (shrink)
Speechacts are a staple of everyday communicative life, but only became a topic of sustained investigation, at least in the English-speaking world, in the middle of the Twentieth Century. Since that time “speech act theory” has been influential not only within philosophy, but also in linguistics, psychology, legal theory, artificial intelligence, literary theory and many other scholarly disciplines. Recognition of the importance of speechacts has illuminated the ability of language to do other things (...) than describe reality. In the process the boundaries among the philosophy of language, the philosophy of action, the philosophy of mind and even ethics have become less sharp. In addition, an appreciation of speechacts has helped lay bare an implicit normative structure within linguistic practice, including even that part of this practice concerned with describing reality. Much recent research aims at an accurate characterization of this normative structure underlying linguistic practice. (shrink)
Ethicists have long observed that unethical communication may result from texts that contain no overt falsehoods but are nevertheless misleading. Less clear, however, has been the way that context and text work together to create misleading communication. Concepts from linguistics can be used to explain implicature and indirect speechacts, two patterns which, though in themselves not unethical, may allow misinterpretations and, therefore, create potentially unethical communication. Additionally, sociolinguistic theory provides insights into why writers in business and other (...) professions are prone to use these patterns. An analysis of five cases shows that implicature and indirectness are sometimes used intentionally to deceive readers. However, their use may also reflect other motives such as the desire to mitigate negative information or to show deference to an unfamiliar or powerful reader. Although implicature and indirectness are not intended to deceive in these cases, they can lead to a loss of clarity and to subsequent ethical problems when readers misinterpret texts. (shrink)
Most of the time our utterances are automatically interpreted as speechacts: as assertions, conjectures and testimonies; as orders, requests and pleas; as threats, offers and promises. Surprisingly, the cognitive correlates of this essential component of human communication have received little attention. This book fills the gap by providing a model of the psychological processes involved in interpreting and understanding speechacts. The theory is framed in naturalistic terms and is supported by data on language development (...) and on autism spectrum disorders. Mikhail Kissine does not presuppose any specific background and addresses a crucial pragmatic phenomenon from an interdisciplinary perspective. This is a valuable resource for academic researchers and graduate and undergraduate students in pragmatics, semantics, cognitive linguistics, psycholinguistics and philosophy of language. (shrink)
The primary units of meaning in the use and comprehension of language are speechacts of the type called illocutionary acts. In Foundations of Illocutionary Logic John Searle and Daniel Vanderveken presented the first formalised logic of a general theory of speechacts. In Meaning and SpeechActs Daniel Vanderveken further develops the logic of speechacts and the logic of propositions to construct a general semantic theory of natural languages. Volume (...) I, Principles of Language Use, explains the general principles that connect meaning, reason, thought and speechacts in the semantic structure of language. It presupposes no detailed knowledge of logical formalism, and will be accessible to a large readership of students and scholars from philosophy, linguistics, cognitive psychology and computer science. Volume II, Formal Semantics of Success and Satisfaction, uses the resources of philosophical and mathematical logics to develop a formalisation of the laws of the semantic theory advanced in Volume I. It will be of interest to theoretical linguists and those involved in mathematical logic and artificial intelligence. (shrink)
Modules, as Marr and Fodor conceive of them, lie between sensory and central processes. Modules have the functional property of representing that portion of the world which turns them on, and nine non-functional or structural properties that facilitate carrying out that function. Fodor has proposed that the processing of linguistic information is carried out by a language module , which therefore has the functional and structural features of modules. We argue that the proposed LM does not have the functional property (...) of modules in general . And we argue that Fodor's candidate for the output of the LM, interpreted syntactic form, does not satisfy important structural properties of modules . We propose another candidate, speech act potential, and argue that it fits almost all of Fodor's conditions . We next report on some pilot sentence completion studies suggesting that speech act information can influence the course of a parse and hence are a part of the LM . Finally, we outline possible experiments to test the modularity of speech act information by online methods of priming. (shrink)
It is now generally recognized that figures such as Reid, Peirce, and Reinach formulated theories of speechacts avant la lettre of Austin and Searle, in Reid and Reinach’s cases under the heading ‘theory of social acts’. Here we address the question as to what conditions would have to be satisfied for such theories to count as ‘theories of speechacts’ in the now familiar sense.
This paper looks at the interpretation of legal texts, with a special emphasis on the legislative ones, from the semiotic and pragmatic points of view. The interpretation of a legislative text must start by considering it as a product of a communication act, performed through linguistic signs, and therefore it has to be studied within basic semiotic categories. Secondly, legislations are texts, and they must therefore be analyzed with the aid of textual linguistics. Thirdly, legislative texts and their legal utterances (...) are all speechacts, and consequently they must be interpreted from the perspective of the pragmatic theory of speechacts. (shrink)
To complement theoretically driven work on argument, we present a datadriven description of published, written argument. We analyze political or philosophical treatises, articles in scholarly journals, and U.S. Supreme Court decisions. The description has emerged out of an inductive and a posteriori process based in grounded theory. The result is a suite of thirty-eight features that begins with conditions antecedent to writing and continues through to the consequences for the reader. We relate observational data to theories and practices from the (...) fields of rhetoric and applied linguistics, including pragmatics, to explain how the features work together as social and communicative acts in which the writer produces a text in order to affect or change the beliefs or actions of the reader. For our purposes, the whole text is the argument and is not reduced to its propositional content; it is a unified communicative act. In our description of argument, the writer, reader, and text are central categories. We describe these categories and their features using examples from a variety of types of written argument. (shrink)
It is a near truism of philosophy of language that sentences are prior to words--that they are the only things that fundamentally have meaning. Robert's Stainton's study interrogates this idea, drawing on a wide body of evidence to argue that speakers can and do use mere words, not sentences, to communicate complex thoughts.
This book deals with a major problem in the study of language: the problem of reference. The ease with which we refer to things in conversation is deceptive. Upon closer scrutiny, it turns out that we hardly ever tell each other explicitly what object we mean, although we expect our interlocutor to discern it. Amichai Kronfeld provides an answer to two questions associated with this: how do we successfully refer, and how can a computer be programmed to achieve this? Beginning (...) with the major theories of reference, Dr Kronfeld provides a consistent philosophical view which is a synthesis of Frege's and Russell's semantic insights with Grice's and Searle's pragmatic theories. This leads to a set of guiding principles, which are then applied to a computational model of referring. The discussion is made accessible to readers from a number of backgrounds: in particular, students and researchers in the areas of computational linguistics, artificial intelligence and the philosophy of language will want to read this book. (shrink)
H. P. Grice virtually discovered the phenomenon of implicature (to denote the implications of an utterance that are not strictly implied by its content). Gricean theory claims that conversational implicatures can be explained and predicted using general psycho-social principles. This theory has established itself as one of the orthodoxes in the philosophy of language. Wayne Davis argues controversially that Gricean theory does not work. He shows that any principle-based theory understates both the intentionality of what a speaker implicates and the (...) conventionality of what a sentence implicates. In developing his argument the author explains that the psycho-social principles actually define the social function of implicature conventions, which contribute to the satisfaction of those principles. This challenging book will be of importance to philosophers of language and linguists, especially those working in pragmatics and sociolinguistics. (shrink)
When people speak about “communication barriers”, what they usually think about are such things as the limitations set by human nature itself, or the constraints that are inherent in the tools we use for communicating. As an example of the first, consider the limited range of the naked human voice; for the second, we may think of the limitations imposed by such primitive communicative devices as the bonfire, the heliograph, or an old-fashioned megaphone.Our contribution draws attention to the fact that, (...) despite enormous advances on the technological side of human communication (such as demonstrated by the existence and use of computers as communication devices), there still are some barriers to be removed as far as the human side is concerned. We call these barriers the “stumble-blocks of the mind”. Their existence is demonstrated by the study of two case stories, which show that understanding the communicative implications of computerizing information is more important than increased emphasis on ever fancier and more expensive hardware products.The next question has to do with the reasons for these “stumbling blocks” to occur. Current communicative and linguistic theoretical findings are used in an effort to explain and solve the communicative dilemmas that are encountered in the organization of our communication, among others in the area of human-computer interface. In particular, the notion of “privacy” in speech acting is suggested as an overlooked aspect, and the notion of “information transfer” is replaced by that of “creating mental activity”.Finally, some conclusions are drawn, and a number of practical applications are offered. (shrink)
The essay tries to blend diverse strands of thought. First comes a criticism of Quine's view(s) on quotation. This develops, somehow, into an ontology for linguistic items. Out of this, again, grows some more general reflections on the notions of speaker and speaking the same language: the identification of someone as a speaker becomes a central task, and the recognition of someone as speaking is of crucial importance in the acknowledgement that something is said. Running through it all, more as (...) ghost then spirit, is the seam of holism. (H. Johannessen, Universitetet i Trondheim; now at the University of Bergen). (shrink)
This paper considers the meaning and use of the English particle man . It is shown that the particle does quite different things when it appears in sentence-initial and sentence-final position; the first use involves expression of an emotional attitude as well as, on a particular intonation, intensification; this use is analyzed using a semantics for degree predicates along with a separate dimension for the expressive aspect. Further restrictions on modification with the sentence-initial particle involving monotonicity and evidence are introduced (...) and analyzed. The sentence-final use can be viewed as strengthening the action performed by the sentence. A formal semantics is given by making use of dynamic techniques and, in a sense, dynamically simulating the modification of certain speechacts. Some empirical and theoretical extensions of the analyses are proposed and some consequences discussed. (shrink)
Several authors propose that performative speechacts 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)
This paper develops an analysis of a scalar implicature that is induced by the use of reportative evidentials such as the Cuzco Quechua enclitic = si and the German modal sollen. Reportatives, in addition to specifying the speaker’s source of information for a statement as a report by someone else, also usually convey that the speaker does not have direct evidence for the proposition expressed. While this type of implicature can be calculated using the same kind of Gricean reasoning that (...) underlies other scalar implicatures, it requires two departures from standard assumptions. First, evidential scalar implicatures differ from the more familiar scalar implicatures in that they do not turn on the notion of informativeness but on the notion of evidential strength. Second, the implicature arises on the illocutionary level of meaning. It is argued that a version of Grice’s maxim of quantity in terms of illocutionary strength can account for this evidential scalar implicature as well as for the more typical scalar implicatures. The account developed also proposes some revisions to the taxonomy of speechacts and suggests that the sincerity conditions of assertive speechacts contain an evidential sincerity condition in addition to the belief condition standardly assumed. (shrink)
We bring out syntactic and semantic similarities of two types of conditionals with fronted antecedents [normal indicative conditionals and biscuit conditionals ] and two types of left dislocation constructions in German, which mark two types of topicality. On the basis of these similarities we argue that NCs and BCs are aboutness topics and relevance topics, respectively. Our analysis extends the approach to aboutness topicality of Endriss to relevance topics to derive the semantic and pragmatic contribution of left-dislocated DPs and applies (...) it to an analysis of conditionals as pluralities of possible worlds. We show how this uniform approach to the interpretation of topicality accounts for the nominal left dislocation constructions as well as for the semantic and pragmatic effects observed in connection with the two types of conditionals. We furthermore discuss the potential of our proposal to deal with subjunctive biscuit conditionals, if-clauses modifying speechacts different from assertions, conditionals with right-dislocated if-clauses, and nested conditionals. (shrink)
‘I Bet They Are Going to Read It’: Reported Direct Speech in Titles of Research Papers in Linguistic Pragmatics Titles of research articles in the humanities, including linguistics, tend to be more creative and less informative than corresponding titles in exact sciences or medicine. In linguistics, pragmatic studies are an area where reported discourse, i.e. direct speech in the form of a full speech act, occurs relatively frequently in titles of research papers. This paper analyses the metonymic (...) and cataphoric relations between such titles and article texts on the background of the functions of text titles. It also presents the results of a survey conducted among graduate students and aimed at finding out whether titles containing reported discourse in the form of speechacts are easier to memorize and attract more attention among the articles' potential readers. (shrink)
J. L. Austin was one of the more influential British philosophers of his time, due to his rigorous thought, extraordinary personality, and innovative philosophical method. According to John Searle, he was both passionately loved and hated by his contemporaries. Like Socrates, he seemed to destroy all philosophical orthodoxy without presenting an alternative, equally comforting, orthodoxy. -/- Austin is best known for two major contributions to contemporary philosophy: first, his ‘linguistic phenomenology’, a peculiar method of philosophical analysis of the concepts and (...) ways of expression of everyday language; and second, speech act theory, the idea that every use of language carries a performative dimension (in the well-known slogan, “to say something is to do something”). Speech act theory has had consequences and import in research fields as diverse as philosophy of language, ethics, political philosophy, philosophy of law, linguistics, artificial intelligence and feminist philosophy. -/- This article describes Austin’s linguistic method and his speech act theory, and it describes the original contributions he made to epistemology and philosophy of action. It closes by focusing on two main developments of speech act theory─the dispute between conventionalism and intentionalism, and the debate on free speech, pornography, and censorship. (shrink)
Iffication, Preiffication, Qualiffication, Reiffication, and Deiffication. -/- Roughly, iffication is the speech-act in which—by appending a suitable if-clause—the speaker qualifies a previous statement. The clause following if is called the qualiffication. In many cases, the intention is to retract part of the previous statement—called the preiffication. I can retract part of “I will buy three” by appending “if I have money”. This initial study focuses on logical relations among propositional contents of speech-acts—not their full conversational implicatures, which (...) will be treated elsewhere. The modified statement—called the iffication—is never stronger than the preiffication. A degenerate iffication is one logically equivalent to its preiffication. There are limiting cases of degenerate iffications. In one, the qualiffication is tautological, as “I will buy three if three is three”. In another, the negation of the qualiffication implies the preiffication, as “I will buy three if I will not buy three”. Reiffication is iffication of an iffication. “I will buy three if I have money” is reifficated by appending “if there are three left”. Deiffication is the speech-act in which—by appending a suitable and-clause—the effect of an iffication is cancelled so that the result implies the preiffication. “I will buy three if I have money” is deifficated by appending “and I have money”. All further examples come from standard (one-sorted, tenseless, non-modal) first-order arithmetic. All theorems are about first-order arithmetic propositions. An easy theorem, hinted above, is that an iffication is degenerate if and only if the negation of the qualiffication implies the preiffication. The iffication of a conjunction using one of the conjuncts as qualiffication need not imply the other conjunct: “Two is an even square if two is square” does not imply “Two is even”. END OF PRINTED ABSTRACT. -/- Some find that the last statement provides a surprise in logic. https://www.academia.edu/s/a5a4386b75?source=link Acknowledgements: Robert Barnes, William Frank, Amanda Hicks, David Hitchcock, Leonard Jacuzzo, Edward Keenan, Mary Mulhern, Frango Nabrasa, and Roberto Torretti. (shrink)