Speech acts, the handicap principle and the expression of psychological states

Mind and Language 24 (2):139-163 (2009)
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Abstract: One oft-cited feature of speech acts is their expressive character: Assertion expresses belief, apology regret, promise intention. Yet expression, or at least sincere expression, is as I argue a form of showing: A sincere expression shows whatever is the state that is the sincerity condition of the expressive act. How, then, can a speech act show a speaker's state of thought or feeling? To answer this question I consider three varieties of showing, and argue that only one of them is suited to help us answer our question. I also argue that concepts from the evolutionary biology of communication provide one source of insight into how speech acts enable one to show, and thereby express, a psychological state.



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Mitchell Green
University of Connecticut

References found in this work

Knowledge and its limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - New York: Oxford University Press.
How to do things with words.John Langshaw Austin - 1962 - Oxford [Eng.]: Clarendon Press. Edited by Marina Sbisá & J. O. Urmson.
Speech Acts: An Essay in the Philosophy of Language.John Rogers Searle - 1969 - Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.
Language, truth and logic.Alfred Jules Ayer - 1936 - London,: V. Gollancz.
The expression of the emotions in man and animals.Charles Darwin - 1890 - London,: J. Murray. Edited by Francis Darwin.

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