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In this volume, Savas L. Tsohatzidis brings together a team of leading experts to provide up-to-date perspectives on the work of J. L. Austin, a major figure in twentieth-century philosophy and an important contributor to theories of language, truth, perception, and knowledge. Focusing on aspects of Austin's writings in these four areas, the volume's ten original essays critically examine central elements of his philosophy, exploring their interrelationships, their historical context, their reception, and their implications for key issues of contemporary philosophical research. The volume deepens our understanding of Austin's philosophy while illustrating its continuing significance, and will appeal to students and scholars of modern philosophy, particularly those interested in the philosophy of language and epistemology.
No theory of sentence meaning would be adequate if it failed to entail that a nondeclarative sentence like Is water odourless? and a declarative sentence like Water is odourless, though both meaningful, do not have the same meaning, and only theories of meaning that, like Searle's, aim to systematically relate differences in sentence meaning to differences in illocutionary act potential would have any chance of engendering such entailments. Still, not all ways of relating sentence meanings to illocutionary acts are adequate, and in this chapter I want to argue that a fundamental assumption that Searle uses in analyzing sentence meaning in terms of illocutionary acts is mistaken. The assumption (which is very widely shared among those who, along with Searle, duly acknowledge that no account of sentence meaning can dispense with an account of sentence mood) has to do with the particular way in which Searle interprets the distinction between the force and the content of illocutionary acts and applies it to the analysis of sentence meaning.
There is an innocuous way of interpreting the force-content distinction against which there can be no objection, and which I would be perfectly happy to accept.
This volume presents eleven original essays that critically examine aspects of John Searle's seminal contributions to the philosophy of language, and explore new ways in which some of their themes could be developed. After an opening essay by Searle in which he summarizes the essentials of his conception of language and what he currently takes its most distinctive implications to be, the critical essays are grouped into two interconnected parts – “From mind to meaning” and “From meaning to force” – reflecting Searle's claim that an analysis of meaning would not be adequate if it could not integrate a proper analysis of illocutionary force and if it could not itself be integrated within a satisfactory account of mind.
Searle's views on how force, meaning, and mind are interconnected form part of the general account of intentionality (in the broad sense of an entity's being about entities other that itself) that he has developed over the years, and his opening essay includes an outline of that account, emphasizing three of its basic ideas. First, the idea that linguistic intentionality does not merely require the expression of propositions and the existence of conditions under which they might or might not be satisfied, but also the association of those propositions with illocutionary forces of various kinds, which determine the various kinds of acts (asserting, requesting, promising, etc.) that possession of a language characteristically makes possible.
This is a volume of original essays on key aspects of John Searle's philosophy of language. It examines Searle's work in relation to current issues of central significance, including internalism versus externalism about mental and linguistic content, truth-conditional versus non-truth-conditional conceptions of content, the relative priorities of thought and language in the explanation of intentionality, the status of the distinction between force and sense in the theory of meaning, the issue of meaning scepticism in relation to rule-following, and the proper characterization of 'what is said' in relation to the semantics/pragmatics distinction. Written by a distinguished team of contemporary philosophers, and prefaced by an illuminating essay by Searle, the volume aims to contribute to a deeper understanding of Searle's work in philosophy of language, and to suggest innovative approaches to fundamental questions in that area.