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Illocutionary Acts and Sentence Meaning
Author: William P. Alston

ISBN: 9780801436697
Format: Hardcover
Number Of Pages: 352
Published: 15 February 2000
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.9 x 15.2 x 2.7
Description:
What is it for a sentence to have a certain meaning? This is the question that William P. Alston, one of America's most distinguished and prolific analytic philosophers, addresses in this major contribution to the philosophy of language. His answer focuses on the given sentence's potential to play the role that its speaker had in mind -- what he terms the usability of the sentence to perform the illocutionary act intended by its speaker.

Alston defines an illocutionary act as an act of saying something with a certain "content". He develops his account of what it is to perform such acts in terms of taking responsibility, in uttering a sentence, for the existence of certain conditions. In requesting someone to open a window, for example, the speaker takes responsibility for its being the case that the window is closed and that the speaker has an interest in its being opened.

In Illocutionary Acts and Sentence Meaning, Alston expands upon this concept, creating a framework of five categories of illocutionary act and going on to argue that sentence meaning is fundamentally a matter of illocutionary act potential; that is, for a...

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