Illocutionary pluralism

Synthese 199 (3-4):6687-6714 (2021)
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Abstract

This paper addresses the following question: Can one and the same utterance token, in one unique speech situation, intentionally and conventionally perform a plurality of illocutionary acts? While some of the recent literature has considered such a possibility Perspectives on pragmatics and philosophy. Springer, Cham, pp 227–244, 2013; Johnson in Synthese 196:1151–1165, 2019), I build a case for it by drawing attention to common conversational complexities unrecognized in speech acts analysis. Traditional speech act theory treats communication as: a dyadic exchange between a Speaker and a Hearer who trade illocutionary acts endowed with one and only one primary force. I first challenge assumption by discussing two contexts where plural illocutionary forces are performed in dyadic discussions: dilemmatic deliberations and strategic ambiguity. Further, I challenge assumption by analyzing poly-adic discussions, where a speaker can target various participants with different illocutionary acts performed via the same utterance. Together, these analyses defend illocutionary pluralism as a significant but overlooked fact about communication. I conclude by showing how some phenomena recently analyzed in speech act theory—back-door speech acts New work on speech acts. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 144–164, 2018) and dog-whistles New work on speech acts. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 360–383, 2018)—implicitly presuppose illocutionary pluralism without recognizing it.

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Citations of this work

Towards a Unified Theory of Illocutionary Normativity.Neri Marsili - 2023 - In Laura Caponetto & Paolo Labinaz (eds.), Sbisà on Speech as Action. Palgrave-Macmillan. pp. 2147483647-2147483647.
Aesthetic Judgments, Evaluative Content, and (Hybrid) Expressivism.Jochen Briesen - forthcoming - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy.

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Nicomachean ethics.H. Aristotle & Rackham - 1998 - New York: Oxford University Press. Edited by Michael Pakaluk.
Convention: A Philosophical Study.David Kellogg Lewis - 1969 - Cambridge, MA, USA: Wiley-Blackwell.
Actions, Reasons, and Causes.Donald Davidson - 1963 - Journal of Philosophy 60 (23):685.

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