Authors
Daniele Lorenzini
University of Warwick
Abstract
In this paper, I argue that a serious philosophical investigation of the domain of the perlocutionary is both possible and desirable, and I show that it possesses a distinctively moral dimension that has so far been overlooked. I start, in Section II, by offering an original characterisation of the distinction between the illocutionary and the perlocutionary derived from the degree of predictability and stability that differentiates their respective effects. In Section III, I argue that, in order to grasp the specificity of the perlocutionary, we must focus on the total speech situation, which I define as conversation. Then, in Section IV, I show that an investigation of the domain of the perlocutionary requires us to draw a conceptual distinction between recognition and acknowledgment. This distinction proves to be crucial, because the success of perlocutions normally depends on something more than what Austin calls the ‘securing of uptake’: the reciprocity condition for illocutions needs to be supplemented, in the case of perlocutions, with an analysis of what I call the ‘grammar of acknowledgment.’ Lastly, in Section V, I elaborate the notion of ‘perlocutionary responsibility,’ a specific form of moral responsibility for the consequences of utterances that are not (entirely) predictable.
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