Procedures and outcomes: a defence and development of J. L. Austin's conception of speech acts
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This work's main thesis is that a theory of action provides a more appropriate framework than a theory of language for furthering the purpose of Austin's conception of speech acts. The main purpose of that conception was the elucidation of the species of language-use that is exemplified by illocutionary acts and is distinct from those species exemplified by locutionary and perlocutionary acts. Austin's conception of locutionary acts isolates those features of a speech act situation which are amenable to subsumption under a theory of language. This conception is expounded, developed and defended in Chapter One. The orthodox "reject-and-replace" view of the relationship between Austin's performative-constative distinction and his distinction between locutionary and illocutionary acts threatens several of Austin's insights concerning the type of theory appropriate for developing his conception of speech acts. In Chapter Two the performative-constative distinction is expounded, the "reject-and-replace" is shown to be false, and an alternative view, which retrieves the threatened insights, is advanced. Austin's distinction between locutionary and illocutionary acts, and his parallel distinction between locutionary meaning and illocutionary force, are also established in the course of defending them against objections. The terms in which Austin drew the distinction between illocutionary and perlocutionary acts - those of a conventional act distinct from its non-conventional outcomes indicate the theoretical framework required for a development of his conception. In Chapter Three this distinction is expounded and a partial analysis is made of the concepts of some outcomes of acts, viz., effects, consequences and results. Illocutionary acts are not constituted in toto by agents' bodily movements - a point captured in Austin's thesis that illocutionary acts are conventional acts. In Chapter Pour the interpretation customarily imposed on that thesis is discussed and shown to be unfaithful. An alternative interpretation is constructed from points in Austin's own lectures. The solution to the problem of the constitution of illocutionary acts provided by this interpretation is that such acts are constituted by the conventional procedures as part of which locutionary acts are performed. Some other suggested solutions are canvassed. In Chapter Five an account is given of the conventional procedures constitutive of illocutionary acts. In Chapter Six the claim embodied in the main thesis of this work is defended against the counter-claims implicit in Schiffer's, Strawson's and Searle's work. In the Appendix Austin's performative-constative distinction and his later views on truth are defended. An analytical table of contents is included.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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