2022 journal article
Two Views of Speech Acts: Analysis and Implications for Argumentation Theory
Argumentation theorists need to command a clear view of the sources of the obligations that arguers incur, e.g., their burdens of proof. Theories of illocutionary speech acts promise to fill this need. This essay contrasts two views of illocutionary acts: one, that they are constituted by rules, the other, that they are constituted by paradigmatic practical calculations. After a general comparison of the two views, the strength of the pragmatic view is demonstrated through an account of the illocutionary act of making an accusation. It is shown that the essential conditions of ACCUSING revealed by conceptual analysis are just what is practically necessary to manage a routine, but complex, communicative problem. The essay closes with remarks on the implications of the pragmatic view of speech acts for argumentation theory generally.