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Speech Acts; An Essay in the Philosophy of Language. - …

This essay has already exceeded its appropriate length. In I intend to show some practical implications of linguistic relativity for Bible translation and exegesis, which is my main interest in this subject. What I wish to be seen and acknowledged right now, however, is the complete legitimacy of the idea that various features of language influence our thinking. In this essay I have pointed to leading scholars from England, Scotland, Germany, France, Spain, the Netherlands, and America. They include philosophers, theologians, literary critics, poets, and scientists. Among the scientists are major figures from the fields of chemistry, physics, anthropology, psychology, and linguistics. Some of them are respected scholars of the present day. On the other side of the question are the Chomskyan linguists who have lately flourished in America, who tend to minimize the effects of language upon thought.

Searle J.R. Speech Acts: An Essay in the Philosophy of Language. Cambridge, 1969.

'This small but tightly packed volume is easily the most substantial discussion of speech acts since John Austin's How To Do Things With Words and one of the most important contributions to the philosophy of language in recent decades.'--Philosophical Quarterly

Speech acts : an essay in the philosophy of language …

Speech Acts: An Essay in the Philosophy of Language by John R. Searle

One way of appreciating the distinctive features of speech acts is incontrast with other well-established phenomena within the philosophyof language and linguistics. Accordingly in this entry we willconsider the relations among speech acts and: semantic content,grammatical mood, speaker-meaning, logically perfect languages,perlocutions,performatives, ,and . This will enable us tosituate speech acts within their ecological niche.

An ancient and dominant assumption in philosophy is that the central or even essential function of language is to describe how things are. Effective resistance to this assumption begins with appreciation of the variety of nondescriptive uses of language that are important for cognition and action. This resistance gave birth to what is now known as the theory of speech acts. Speech acts are best defined in terms of speaker meaning as that notion is commonly used in contemporary philosophy of language. Accordingly, as the expression is used here, a is an act of speaker meaning that can (though need not) be performed by saying that one is doing so. Promising is a speech act on this criterion because one can promise by saying, “I promise to do so and so,” under the right conditions, and in any promise one must also speaker mean something. Insinuating and convincing are not speech acts in the sense used here because one cannot insinuate something or convince someone by saying that one is doing so. An utterance of words—such as when one recites lines from a song while testing a microphone—is an act of speech but not a speech act. Speech act theory has illuminated many socially and cognitively significant, non-descriptive acts that can be carried out with words; it has even shed light on descriptive discourse. These achievements have revealed a normative structure underlying language use and have provided tools applicable to a variety of fields within philosophy such as philosophy of mind, legal philosophy, meta-ethics, aesthetics, and epistemology. Beyond philosophy, speech act theory has also influenced literary theory, jurisprudence, and artificial intelligence.

Speech Acts: An Essay in the Philosophy of Language ..

Speech Acts: An Essay in the Philosophy of Language by John R. Searle

Much of what has been written on this subject by professional linguists focuses rather narrowly on the question of whether the of a language will influence the thinking of its speakers, without any attention being given to how vocabulary might influence thought. But obviously language is more than grammar, and so conclusions about language in general cannot be drawn from studies which deal only with questions of grammar. This essay does not equate language with grammar. The word “language” will be used in reference to the full reality of language, including all the messy details of lexical semantics. I will not enter into all the technicalities of the subject. That would require an introductory course in linguistics. I only aim to give an overview of how the idea that language influences thinking has been expressed in the writings of celebrated philosophers, scientists, literary critics, philologists and linguists. Many of these did not deal with the question in a modern scientific fashion, but I do not think that any of them can be dismissed as linguistically naive. For lack of a better plan I will present this material in historical order.

A theory of speech acts in terms of constitutive rules, withapplications to specific problems in the philosophy of language.
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