How to Do Things Without Words - A Theory of Declarations

Philosophy of the Social Sciences 47 (3):235-254 (2017)
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Declarations like “this meeting is adjourned” make certain facts the case by representing them as being the case. Yet surprisingly little attention has been paid to the mechanism whereby the utterance of a declaration can bring about a new state of affairs. In this paper, we use the incentivization account of institutional facts to address this issue. We argue that declarations can serve to bring about new states of affairs as their utterance have game theoretical import, typically in virtue of the utterer signaling a commitment to act in an incentive-changing way.



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Author Profiles

J. P. Smit
University of Stellenbosch

Citations of this work

Three Conceptions of a Theory of Institutions.N. Emrah Aydinonat & Petri Ylikoski - 2018 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 48 (6):550-568.
A Critique of Searle’s Linguistic Exceptionalism.Gregory J. Lobo - 2021 - Sage Publications Inc: Philosophy of the Social Sciences 51 (6):555-573.

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References found in this work

How to do things with words.John Langshaw Austin - 1962 - Oxford [Eng.]: Clarendon Press. Edited by Marina Sbisá & J. O. Urmson.
Convention: A Philosophical Study.David Kellogg Lewis - 1969 - Cambridge, MA, USA: Wiley-Blackwell.
Speech Acts: An Essay in the Philosophy of Language.John Rogers Searle - 1969 - Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.

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