Speech Acts
John R. Searle, 1969

Part I. A Theory of Speech Acts

1. Methods and Scope

The philosophy of language
Why should a particular blast of sound mean a particular thing, depending on who said it, who heard it, when or how or where it was said. Does the sound itself mean something? What is meaning? This book is about the philosophy of language, the attempt to describe certain features of language, such as reference, truth, meaning and necessity. It is not about linguistic philosophy, which is the attempt to solve certain philosophical problems by listening to certain words in some particular language. This book is not, in general, about languages, French, English or Swahili, but is about language.

Linguistic characterizations

The 'verification' of linguistic characterizations

Why study speech acts?

The principle of expressibility

2. Expressions, Meaning and Speech Acts

Expressions and kinds of speech acts


Reference as a speech act




The distinction between brute and institutional facts

3. The Structure of Illocutionary Acts

How to promise: a complicated way

Insincere promises

Rules for the use of the illocutionary force indicating device

Extending the analysis

4. Reference as a Speech Act

Use and mention

Axioms of reference

Kinds of definite referring expressions

Necessary conditions for referring

The principle of identification

Some consequences of the principle of identification

Rules of reference

5. Predication

Frege on concept and object

Nominalism and existance of universals

Ontological commitments

The term theory of propositions

Predicates and universals

Is predication a speech act?

Rules of predication

Part II. Some Applications of the Theory

6. Three Fallacies in Contemporary Philosophy

The naturalist fallacy fallacy

The speech act fallacy

The assertion fallacy

The origin of the fallacies: meaning as use

Alternative explanations

7. Problems of Reference

The theory of descriptions

Proper names

8. Deriving &qout;ought&qout; from &qout;is&qout;

How to do it

The nature of the issues involved

Objections and replies

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