Types of speech acts

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

12 Scopus citations


Classical speech act theory, in the tradition of Austin and Searle, is based on a picture of propositional content due to Frege. This picture takes propositions to be the primary bearers of truth conditions, and it incorporates a sharp distinction between content and force. In this paper I defend an alternative picture of propositional content, on which the primary bearers of truth conditions are the actions we perform in thinking and speaking about the world. Propositions are types of these actions, and they inherit their truth conditions from them. This picture abandons the distinction between content and force and it leads to a three-way distinction between different kinds of propositions. Here I explore the consequences of this alternative picture for the nature and taxonomy of speech acts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationNew Work on Speech Acts
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages21
ISBN (Print)9780198738831
StatePublished - Aug 23 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© the several contributors 2018. All rights reserved.


  • Content-force distinction
  • Propositions
  • Searle
  • Speech acts
  • Truth conditions


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