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Mitchell S. Green

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199283781

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199283781.001.0001

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Convention and Idiosyncrasy

Convention and Idiosyncrasy

(p.137) 6 Convention and Idiosyncrasy

Mitchell S. Green (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on how we show what's within in ways not typical of our species. A person's idiosyncratic display of an emotion, for instance, might nevertheless make that emotion perceptible if that display is a characteristic component thereof. Such behavior can later become conventionalized, and it is argued that this is one major route into the conventionalization of expression. Conventions also make language possible, and it is argued that natural language is used to indicate the content, and sometimes also the modality, of the states we express. In the process of this argument, an analogy between attitude ascription and measurement (such as has been suggested by D. Davidson, H. Field, R. Matthews, R. Stalnaker, and others) is explored. The chapter concludes with a discussion of some devices of natural language that have a distinctively expressive role, so-called illocutionary force indicators.

Keywords:   convention, measurement, attitude ascription, illocutionary force, D. Davidson, H. Field, R. Matthews, R. Stalnaker

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