[linux-elitists] OpenSolaris

Bob Bernstein rs@bernstein.providence.ri.us
Sun Nov 20 14:19:14 PST 2005

Rick Moen wrote:

> Whereas the semantic content of A's rejoinder is actually zero,
> being irrelevant to the point under discussion.  Which A, pleased
> with being able to count coup, invariably fails to notice.


Rejoinders of the type under discussion are instances of what John 
Austin termed "performative utterances." Austin points out that we can 
perform "actions" with what are to all outward appearances strictly 
(or merely, or only) "verbal" utterances.


(Austin emerged out the so-called "Ordinary Language" group of Oxford 
students of the later Wittgenstein.)

So, since actions have associated with them intentions, the exercise 
might then be to require your A to restate his _intention_ without 
using a performative utterance. Typically, this intention will be of 
the order: "I wish you to tell me how great I am." or "You are a 
poopyhead." etc. ;-)

Best &c.,

Bob Bernstein

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