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ReasoningA Social Picture$
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Anthony Simon Laden

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199606191

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199606191.001.0001

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The Rational Significance of Conversation

The Rational Significance of Conversation

(p.79) 3 The Rational Significance of Conversation

Anthony Simon Laden

Oxford University Press

The social picture of reasoning treats reasoning as a species of conversation. This chapter characterizes and investigates casual conversation. Casual conversation is not directed at an end, and it has no built-in stopping point. Participants in a casual conversation can be playful, but this requires them to take responsibility for what they say. Finally, while it does not have an end, what we say in conversation has a point, and it is the establishment and maintenance of our relationships through attunement. The difference between statements having a point and an end is discussed by way of Stanley Cavell’s analysis of passionate utterances and J. L. Austin’s category of perlocutionary effect.

Keywords:   conversation, attunement, speech-act theory, perlocutionary effect, Cavell, Austin, Deborah Tannen

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