Re: Fruits of Learning LO2189
Sat, 22 Jul 1995 22:11:58 +0000

Replying to LO2159 --

What Flores has or has not done with "speach acts" is hardly the end
of the matter. He wasn't the beginning either. John Searle is a
philosophical and linguistic source that might provide a different
context - and reaction - than whatever you attribute to Flores.

> I do not buy the notion - which I am quite familiar with - that commitment
> is a "speech act." Flores and others have, IMHO, reified language beyond
> what it is.

Commitment may be an "organismic act". However, as a speech act in
the way that I interpret it, it cannot be "inauthentic" because it
isn't *describing* anything. It is an action taken by speaking which
does commit one. It is a social act in that sense. Therefor, in
that sense, it is dependent on how the community interacts with it.
(I think you'll find this is closer to how Searle and others
originated the term and its intentions.)

>Commitment is an organismic act, and a as a speech act it can
> certainly be "inauthentic." Putting it into a social context - "how the
> community treats such speech acts" - _may_ lead individuals to make their
> speech acts consistent with their "true" intentions (wahtever that means),
> but maybe not.

I don't know what "true intentions" might refer to either.
Fortunately for coordinated human action, we don't need to concern
ourselves with the ture intentions of others. Only their actions -
including their speech acts.

> I believe that we must be aware of the difficulties in
> treating the speech act as the person--as if the cover is the book.

The speech act is not the person. For me, that's one of the main
points of distinguishing speech acts. Such a distinction clearly
distinguishes the public actions of speaking from the internal states
which may or may not be present "behind" that speaking. By
distinguishing speech acts, I am fully aware of my own creation of
the meaning of the speaking and of any judgements I make about the
speaker. I can be responsible in the matter.

Michael McMaster