Conclusions of practical argument: A speech act analysis

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Abstract

Conclusions of theoretical reasoning are assertions—or at least speech acts belonging to the class of assertives, such as hypotheses, predictions or estimates. What, however, are the conclusions of practical reasoning? Employing the concepts of speech act theory, in this paper I investigate which speech acts we perform when we’re done with an instance of a practical argument and present its result in a linguistic form. To this end, I first offer a detailed scheme of practical argument suitable for an external pragmatic account (rather than an internal cognitive account). Resorting to actual examples, I then identify a class of action-inducing speech acts as characteristic conclusions of practical argument. I argue that these speech acts—promises, orders, pieces of advice, proposals, and others—differ chiefly depending on the agent of the action induced (me, us, you, them) and their illocutionary strength.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)420-457
Number of pages38
JournalOrganon F
Volume28
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2021

Keywords

  • Illocution
  • Practical argument
  • Practical reasoning
  • Speech acts

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