The Expressive Dimension and Score-changing Function of Speech Acts from the Evolutionist Point of View

In: Grazer Philosophische Studien

The aim of this paper is twofold. First, the author examines Mitchell Green’s (2009) account of the expressive power and score-changing function of speech acts; second, he develops an alternative, though also evolutionist approach to explaining these two hallmarks of verbal interaction. After discussing the central tenets of Green’s model, the author draws two distinctions – between externalist and internalist aspects of veracity, and between perlocutionary and illocutionary credibility – and argues that they constitute a natural refinement of Green’s original conceptual framework. Finally, the author uses the refined framework to develop an alternative account of expressing thoughts with words. In particular, he argues that in theorising about expressing thoughts with words – as well as about using language to change context – we should adopt a Millikanian view on what can be called, following Green, acts of communication and an Austinian approach to speech or illocutionary acts.

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