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Performatives and the Role of Truth in Semantics

(Original title: Performatives and the Role of Truth in Semantics)
Organon F, 2015, vol. 22, Supplementary Issue 1, pp. 74-95.
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According to Austin, in uttering I hereby X in a performative we are neither asserting nor saying anything true/false-assessable about what we are doing, our Xing. Still in producing the performative utterance we can be said to say we are Xing. So, we have the production of a declarative sentence, that is perfectly meaningful and not lacking in content in any way, that is nevertheless not produced in an assertion nor open to evaluation as true or false, despite the fact that it says something. In this paper, I argue that Austin’s claim about performatives is correct. I then argue that Austin’s thesis about performatives has radical implications for received ideas about role of truth and truth-conditions in the explanatory enterprise known as ‘semantics’.


Austin, performatives, semantics, truth-conditions

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