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New Work on Speech Acts$
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Daniel Fogal, Daniel W. Harris, and Matt Moss

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198738831

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198738831.001.0001

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Speech Acts

Speech Acts

The Contemporary Theoretical Landscape

(p.1) 1 Speech Acts
New Work on Speech Acts

Daniel W. Harris

Daniel Fogal

Matt Moss

Oxford University Press

This introduction is both a capsule history of major work in speech-act theory and an opinionated guide to its current state, organized around five major accounts of what speech acts fundamentally are. We first consider the two classical views, on which a speech act is the kind of act it is mainly due to convention (Austin), or to intention (Grice). We then spell out three other broad approaches, which conceive of speech acts primarily in terms of their function, or as the expression of mental states, or as constituted by norms. With these five families of views laid out, we relate them in turn to the apparatus of conversational score and discourse context; to the project of speech-act taxonomy; and to the theory of force. Last, we review applications of speech-act theory to matters legal and political, and to ethically significant phenomena like silencing, derogation, and coercion.

Keywords:   speech acts, history of analytic philosophy, Austin, Grice, context, content-force distinction, semantics, pragmatics, convention

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