John searle an essay in the philosophy of language

May 14, Chant Cowen rated it liked it Searle expands on J. Austin's theory on speech acts and it is fairly clear on most things.

John searle an essay in the philosophy of language

In his William James Lectures at Harvard Universitypublished posthumously as How to Do Things with WordsAustin criticized the tendency of analytic philosophers, especially adherents of the school of logical positivismfor supposing that there is only one basic kind of language use: Focusing as they did on scientific discourse, the logical positivists went so far as to claim that an utterance is meaningful only if it is a tautology or such that it can be confirmed or disconfirmed in principle through experience; all other utterances are literally nonsense see verifiability principle.

Other examples are orders, requests, promises, greetings, resignations, warnings, and dozens more. For most speech acts, the utterance through which the act is performed—e. An Essay in the Philosophy of LanguageSearle treated speech acts much more systematically than Austin had.

Among the rules for promising, for example, are that the speaker S predicate a future act A of himself, that S intend to carry out A, that the hearer H prefer that S carry out A, that it not be obvious to both S and H that S would carry out A in the normal course of events, and that S intend to place himself under an obligation to carry out A.

At a more general level, Searle identified three basic dimensions with respect to which different kinds of speech vary from one another: For example, the illocutionary point of a statement, insofar as it is a statement, is to present the world as being a certain way, and the illocutionary point of an order, insofar as it is an order, is to get the hearer to do something.

In contrast, a promise has a world-to-word fit because it constitutes an undertaking on the part of the speaker to make the world match his words. Finally, the expressed psychological state of a speech act is the belief, desire, intention, or other mental state that a speaker necessarily expresses by performing an act of that type.

The expressed psychological state of a speech act is distinct from its propositional content; in the examples above, the propositional contents of the acts are, respectively, that it is raining, that the hearer gets the speaker some raisins, and that the speaker will be there.

Using these dimensions, Searle developed an elaborate speech act taxonomyconsisting at its highest level of five categories: Searle also introduced the notion of an indirect speech act, in which the speaker performs one kind of speech act by means of performing another.

According to Searle, speech acts do not function in isolation. Speech act theory is important in the philosophy of language not only for having demonstrated the wide range of meaningful uses of language but also for yielding insight into fundamental issues such as the distinction between speaker meaning and conventional meaning, the nature of reference and predication, the division between semantic and pragmatic use-generated aspects of communicated meaning, and the scope of linguistic knowledge.

Philosophy of mind In large part, Searle was driven to the study of mind by his study of language. As indicated above, his analysis of speech acts always involved reference to mental concepts. Since mental states are essentially involved in issuing speech acts, Searle realized that his analysis of language could not be complete unless it included a clear understanding of those states.

Intentionality in this sense is distinct from the ordinary quality of being intended, as when one intends to do something. Thus, believing is necessarily believing that something is the case; desiring is necessarily desiring something; intending is necessarily intending to do something.

Not all mental states are intentional, however: Speech acts are intentional in a derivative sense, insofar as they are expressive of intrinsically intentional mental states, including expressed psychological states and propositional contents.

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According to Searle, the derived intentionality of language accounts for the apparently mysterious capacity of words, phrases, and sentences to refer not only to things in the world but also to things that are purely imaginary or fictional. Indeed, Searle maintains that the notion of an unconscious mental state is incoherent.

He argues that, because consciousness is an intrinsically biological phenomenon, it is impossible in principle to build a computer or any other nonbiological machine that is conscious. Imagine that a person who knows nothing of the Chinese language is sitting alone in a room.

Dimensions and taxonomy

In that room are several boxes containing cards on which Chinese characters of varying complexity are printed, as well as a manual that matches strings of Chinese characters with strings that constitute appropriate responses. On one side of the room is a slot through which speakers of Chinese may insert questions or other messages in Chinese, and on the other is a slot through which the person in the room may issue replies.

Thus, contrary to strong AI, real understanding cannot be a matter of mere symbol manipulation. Like the person in the room, computers simulate intelligence but do not exhibit it.This is a volume of original essays on key aspects of John Searle's philosophy of language.

It examines Searle's work in relation to current issues of central significance, including internalism versus externalism about mental and linguistic content, truth-conditional versus non-truth-conditional.

Written by a distinguished team of contemporary philosophers, and prefaced by an illuminating essay by Searle, the volume aims to contribute to a deeper understanding of Searle's work in philosophy of language, and to suggest innovative approaches to fundamental questions in that area.

John searle an essay in the philosophy of language

Speech Acts: An Essay in the Philosophy of Language John R. Searle Limited preview - Speech Acts: An Essay in the Philosophy 3/5(2). John Searle a famous philosopher designed a thought example to test the human mind comparing it to a programmed computer.

The thought experiment placed an English speaker with no knowledge of Chinese written symbols or Chinese Kulacic 2 of 5 language in a locked room. "Speech Acts: An Essay in the Philosophy of Language" By John R. Searle. [REVIEW] William P.

Alston - - Philosophical Quarterly 20 (79) Speech Acts: An Essay in the Philosophy of Language. Accordingly, John Searle's Philosophy of Language: Force, Meaning and Mind is a welcome contribution that contains a superb collection of original essays on some of his most influential work.

The eleven essays are written by preeminent scholars.

Philosophical Dictionary: Searle-Sheffer