LINGUIST List 10.1163

Wed Aug 4 1999

Sum: Illocutionary Force/Austin and Searle

Editor for this issue: Karen Milligan <karenlinguistlist.org>


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  1. Christian Kjaer Nelson, "force"

Message 1: "force"

Date: Wed, 04 Aug 1999 12:13:49 -0400
From: Christian Kjaer Nelson <cnelsoncomm.umass.edu>
Subject: "force"

Summary of responses to my query regarding the use of the term "force"by
Austin and Searle:

(Many thanks to Thomas Bloor, Seth Kahn, Flink, Susan Mandala, Linda Bawcom,
Joel Walters, MARC PICARD, and especially Ulrich Hermann Wassner, Jeff
Coulter, Mary Bucholtz, and Alan Rumsey and FAJJ76aol.com for providing the
following.)

Citations to key texts by Searle and his commentators which explicate the
notion of force:

Ninio, A. (1986). The Illocutionary Aspect of Utterances. Discourse
Processes 9:2, 127-147.

Jerrold Sadock's "Speech act distinctions in grammar", in
*Linguistics: The Cambridge Survey* (Cambridge University Press,
1988, Frederick Newmeyer, ed)--mainly valuable for the bibliography.

P.F. Strawson's "Intention and Convention in Speech Acts", in his
*Logico-Linguistic Papers* (Metheun & Co, 1971--distributed in
America by Harper & Row). (Originally printed in *The Philosophical
Review*, Vol lxxiii, 1964.)

Corpus Concordance and Collocation by Les Sinclair (August 1991) Oxford Univ
Press; ISBN: 0194371441

Searle, J. R. 1976. A classification of illocutionary acts. Language in
Society 5:1, 1-23.

Citations to texts which refer to the selection of the term "force" itself:

G.P. Baker & P.M.S. Hacker, LANGUAGE, SENSE AND NONSENSE (Blackwell,1984),
Chapter 3.

Limited Inc / Jacques Derrida.Evanston, IL : Northwestern University Press,
c1988. UM/Univ Lib PN98.D43 D45 1988 DUE 10-01-99

An interesting history of the use of the term "force" from Ulrich Wassner:

I don't know if that's (part of) what you wanted to know, but I am pretty
sure that Austin took the term _illocutionary FORCE_ from Frege's (whom he
translated into English!) _behauptende KRAFT_, which is a prominent term in
Frege's theory of the 'Urteil' ('Assertion') as being compounded (or so) of
a 'beurteilbarer Inhalt' (propositional content) and a 'behauptende Kraft'
('assertive force'). Concerning Searle, I would say he (e.g. in
Searle/Vanderveken 1985) repeats the same dichotomy on several levels: a
speech act is an illocutionary act a n d a propositional act and at the same
time it is identical with the i.a.; the i.a. is made up of a illocutionary
force and a propositional content and at the same time somewhat identical
with the first of this two components; an illocutionary force is made up of
an illocutionary poin t - which is its esential "part", defining its kind or
type - and some other factors, whose relation to the felicity conditions
(besides others, the essential condition - = ip? - and the condition(s) of
the prop. content (!)) is far from clear. So we have at least four levels of
analysis, where one single would surely be enough. Greetings from Occam, who
is shaving at this moment. If you need lots of bibliographical information,
you best look into the real comprehensive bibliography of pragmatics by
Nuyts and Verschueren!!!

My categorization of these cites may be a bit off--I haven't read all of
them yet, but am relatively sure of their contents based on past skimming,
etc. I would also like to add that I also just happened upon S. Cavell's
_Philosophical Passages_ whose first, second, and third chapters discuss
Derrida's _Limited, Inc._. Quite a useful discussion, which suggests that
both Derrida and Searle misrepresent Austin's use of the term "force." This
has some implication for reading Baker and Hacker, too, since they seem to
reference Searle's conception more than Austin's. Cavell provides a strong
feel for Austin's notion, if there is indeed a difference between he and
Searle, though he doesn't specifically speak of Searle's notion.

Thanks, again, to all,
Christian Nelson
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