the Blackwell Guide to the Philosophy of Language, Michael Devitt and
Richard Hanley, eds. (2003)]
Acts and Pragmatics
the beginning of How to Do Things with Words, J.
L. Austin bemoaned the common philosophical pretense that "the business
of a [sentence] can only be to 'describe' some state of affairs, or to
'state some fact', which it must do either truly or falsely" (1962, p. 1).
He observed that there are many uses of language which have the linguistic
appearance of fact-stating but are really quite different. Explicit
performatives like "You're fired" and "I quit" are not used to make
mere statements. And the Wittgenstein of the Philosophical Investigations, rebelling
against his former self, swapped the picture
metaphor for the tool metaphor and came
to think of language not as a system of representation but as a system of
devices for engaging in various sorts of social activity; hence, "the meaning
of a word is its use in the language" (1953, ß43, p. 20).
Here Wittgenstein went too far, for there is good reason to separate the
theory of linguistic meaning (semantics) from the theory of language use
(pragmatics), not that they are unconnected. We can distinguish sentences,
considered in abstraction from their use, and the acts that speakers (or
writers) perform in using them. We can distinguish what sentences mean from what
speakers mean in using them. Whereas Wittgenstein adopted a decidedly
anti-theoretical stance toward the whole subject, Austin developed a systematic,
though largely taxonomic, theory of language use. And Paul Grice developed a
conception of meaning which, though tied to use, enforced a distinction between
what linguistic expressions mean and what speakers mean in using them.
A early but excellent illustration of the importance of this distinction
is provided by Moore's paradox (so-called by Wittgenstein, 1953, p. 190). If
you say, "Tomatoes are fruits but I don't believe it," you are denying
that you believe what you are asserting. This contradiction is puzzling because
it is not an outright logical inconsistency. That tomatoes are fruits does not
entail your believing it, nor vice versa, and there's no contradiction in my
saying, "Tomatoes are fruits but you don't believe it." Your inconsistency
arises not from what you are claiming but from the fact that you are
claiming it. That's what makes it a pragmatic contradiction.
Like pragmatic contradictions, pragmatic phenomena in general involve
information that is generated by, or at least made relevant by, acts of using
language. It is not to be confused with semantic information, which is carried
by linguistic items themselves. This distinction should be kept in mind as we
examine the nature of speech acts (including Austin's explicit performatives),
the intentions involved in communicating, and the ways in which what a speaker
means can differ from what his words mean. Later we will return to the
semantic-pragmatic distinction and survey its philosophical applications.
Paradoxical though it may seem, there are certain things one can do
just by saying that one is doing them. One can apologize by saying "I
apologize," promise by saying "I promise," and thank someone by saying
"Thank you." These are examples of explicit performative utterances,
statements in form but not in fact. Or so thought Austin (1962) when he
contrasted them with constatives. Performatives are utterances
whereby we make explicit what we are doing.
Austin challenged the common philosophical assumption
(or at least pretense) that indicative sentences are necessarily devices for
making statements. He maintained that, for example, an explicit promise
is not, and does not involve, the statement that one is promising. It is an act
of a distinctive sort, the very sort (promising) named by the performative verb.
Of course one can promise without doing so explicitly, without using the
performative verb 'promise', but if one does use it, one is,
according to Austin, making explicit what one is doing but not stating that one
is doing it.
Austin eventually realized that explicit constatives function in
essentially the same way. After all, a statement can be made by uttering "I
assert ..." or "I predict ...", just as a promise or a request can be made
with "I promise ..." or "I request ...". So Austin let the distinction
between constative and performative utterances be superseded by one between locutionary
and illocutionary acts. He included assertions, predictions, etc. (he
retained the term 'constative' for them) along with promises, requests,
etc., among illocutionary acts. His later nomenclature recognized that
illocutionary acts need not be performed explicitly -- you don't have to use
"I suggest ..." to make a suggestion or "I apologize ..." to apologize.
Even so, it might seem that because of their distinctive
self-referential character, the force of explicit performatives requires special
explanation. Indeed, Austin supposed that illocutionary acts in general should
be understood on the model of explicit performatives, as when he made the
notoriously mysterious remark that the use of a sentence with a certain
illocutionary force is "conventional in the sense that at least it could be
made explicit by the performative formula" (1962, p. 91). Presumably he
thought that explicit performative utterances are conventional in some more
straightforward sense. Since it is not part of the meaning of the word
"apologize" that an utterance of "I apologize ..." count as an apology
rather than a statement, perhaps there is some convention to that effect. If
there is, presumably it is part of a general convention that covers all
performative verbs. But is there such a convention, and is it needed to explain
P.F. Strawson (1964) argued that Austin was overly impressed with
institution-bound cases. In these cases there do seem to be conventions that
utterances of certain forms (an umpire's "Out!", a legislator's
"Nay!", or a judge's "Overruled!") count as the performance of acts of
certain sorts. Likewise with certain explicit performatives, as when under
suitable circumstances a judge or clergyman says, "I pronounce you husband and
wife," which counts as joining a couple in marriage. In such cases there are
specific, socially recognized circumstances in which a person with specific,
socially recognized authority may perform an act of a certain sort by uttering
words of a certain form.
Strawson argued, though, that most illocutionary acts involve not an intention
to conform to an institutional convention but an intention to communicate
something to an audience. Indeed, as he pointed out, there is no sense of the
word 'conventional' in which the use of a given sentence with a certain
illocutionary force is necessarily conventional, much less a sense having to do
with the fact that this force can be "made explicit by the performative
formula." In the relevant sense, an act is conventional just in case it counts
as an act of a certain sort because, and only because, of a special kind of
institutional rule to that effect. However, unlike the special cases Austin
focused on, utterances can count as requests, apologies, or predictions, as the
case may be, without the benefit of such a rule. It is perfectly possible to
apologize, for example, without doing so explicitly,
without using the performative phrase "I apologize ...". That is the
trouble with Austin's view of speech acts -- and for that matter John
Searle's (1969), which attempts to explain illocutionary forces by means of
"constitutive rules" for using "force-indicating devices," such as
performatives. These theories can't explain the fact that, e.g., an apology
can be made without using such a device.
There is a superficial difference between apologizing
explicitly (by saying, "I apologize") and doing it inexplicitly, but there
is no theoretically important difference.
Except for institution-bound cases like those illustrated above, performativity
requires no special explanation, much less a special sort of convention.
Illocutionary, and Perlocutionary acts
dubbed "illocutionary" those sorts of speech acts that can (but need not) be
performed by means of the performative formula. The illocutionary act is but one
level of the total speech act that one performs in uttering a sentence. Consider
that in general when one acts intentionally, one has a
set of nested intentions. For instance, having arrived home without your keys,
one might move your finger in a certain way with the intention not just of
moving your finger in that way but with the further intentions of pushing a
certain button, ringing the doorbell, arousing your spouse, ..., and ultimately
getting into your house. The single bodily movement involved in moving your
finger comprises a multiplicity of actions, each corresponding to a different
one of the nested intentions. Similarly, speech acts are not just acts of
producing certain sounds.
Austin identifies three distinct levels of action beyond the act of
utterance itself. He distinguishes the act of saying something, what one does in
saying it, and what one does by saying it, and dubs these the locutionary,
the illocutionary, and the perlocutionary act, respectively.
Suppose, for example, that a bartender utters the words, "The bar will be
closed in five minutes," reportable with direct quotation. He is thereby
performing the locutionary act of saying that the bar (i.e., the one he is
tending) will be closed in five minutes (from the time of utterance), where what
is said is reported by indirect quotation (notice that what the bartender is
saying, the content of his locutionary act, is not fully determined by the words
he is using, for they do not specify the bar in question or the time of the
utterance). In saying this, the bartender is performing the illocutionary act of
informing the patrons of the bar's imminent closing and perhaps also the act
of urging them to order a last drink. Whereas the upshot of these illocutionary
acts is understanding on the part of the audience, perlocutionary acts are
performed with the intention of producing a further effect. The bartender
intends to be performing the perlocutionary acts of causing the patrons to
believe that the bar is about to close and of getting them to order one last
drink. He is performing all these speech acts, at all three levels, just by
uttering certain words.
We need the level
of locutionary acts, acts of saying something, in order to characterize such
common situations as these: where the speaker says one thing but, not speaking
literally, means (in the sense of trying to convey) something else instead,
where the speaker means what he says and indirectly means something else as
well, and where the speaker says something but doesn't mean anything at all.
Moreover, the same sentence can be used to perform illocutionary acts of various
types or with various contents. Just as in shaking
hands we can, depending on the circumstances, do any one of several different
things (introduce ourselves, greet each other, seal a deal, congratulate, or bid
farewell), so we can use a sentence with a given locutionary content in a
variety of ways. For example, we could utter 'I will call a lawyer' to make
a promise or a warning, or just a prediction. Austin defines a
locutionary act as the act of using words, "as belonging to a certain
vocabulary...and as conforming to a certain grammar,...with a certain more or
less definite sense and reference" (1962, pp. 92-3). And what is said,
according to Grice, is "closely related to the conventional meaning of
the...sentence...uttered" and must correspond to "the elements of [the
sentence], their order, and their syntactic character" (1989, p. 87). Although
what is said is limited by this syntactic correlation constraint, because
of ambiguity and indexicality it is not identical to what the sentence means. If
the sentence is ambiguous, usually only one of its conventional (linguistic)
meanings is operative in a given utterance (double entendre is a special case).
And linguistic meaning does not determine what, on a given occasion, indexicals
like 'she' and 'this' are used to refer to. If someone utters "She
wants this book," he is saying that a certain woman wants a certain book, even
though the words do not specify which woman and which book. So, along with
linguistic information, the speaker's semantic (disambiguating and
referential) intentions are often needed to determine what is said.
need the distinction between illocutionary and perlocutionary acts because
utterances are generally more than just acts of communication. They have two
levels of success: considered merely as an illocutionary act, a request (for
example) succeeds if your audience recognizes your desire that they do a certain
thing, but as a perlocutionary act it succeeds only if they actually do it. You
can express your desire without getting compliance, but your one utterance is
the performance of an act of both types.
acts may be conveniently classified by their illocutionary type, such as
asserting, requesting, promising, and apologizing, for which we have familiar
verbs. These different types may in turn be distinguished by the type of
attitude the speaker expresses. Corresponding to each such attitude is a certain
attitude on the part of the hearer (getting the hearer to form this correlative
attitude is essential to the success of the perlocutionary act). Here are some
INTENDED HEARER ATTITUDE
belief that p
belief that p
desire for H to D
intention to D
firm intention to D
belief that S will D
regret for D-ing
forgiveness of S for D-ing
are examples of the four major categories of communicative illocutionary acts,
which may be called constatives, directives, commissives, and
Here are some further examples of each type:
Constatives: affirming, alleging, announcing, answering, attributing,
claiming, classifying, concurring, confirming, conjecturing, denying,
disagreeing, disclosing, disputing, identifying, informing, insisting,
predicting, ranking, reporting, stating, stipulating
Directives: advising, admonishing, asking, begging, dismissing, excusing,
forbidding, instructing, ordering, permitting, requesting, requiring,
suggesting, urging, warning
Commissives: agreeing, betting, guaranteeing, inviting, offering, promising,
Acknowledgments: apologizing, condoling, congratulating, greeting, thanking,
accepting (acknowledging an acknowledgment)
If each type of illocutionary act is distinguishable by the type of
attitude expressed, there is no need to invoke the notion of convention to
explain how a particular act can succeed. An illocutionary act succeeds if the
hearer recognizes the attitude being expressed, such as a belief in the case of
a statement and a desire in the case of a request. As a perlocutionary act, a
statement or an apology is successful if the audience accepts it, but
illocutionary success does not require that. It requires only what is necessary
for the statement or the apology to be made. As Strawson explains, the
effect relevant to communicative success is understanding or what Austin
called "uptake," rather than a further (perlocutionary) effect, such as
belief, desire, or even action on the part of the hearer. Indeed, an utterance
can succeed as an act of communication even if the speaker doesn't possess the
attitude he is expressing, and even if the hearer doesn't take him to possess
it. Communication is one
thing, sincerity another. Sincerity is actually possessing the attitude one is
Conventional illocutionary acts, the model for Austin's theory, succeed
not by recognition of intention, but by conformity to convention. That is, an
utterance counts as an act of a certain sort by virtue of meeting certain
socially or institutionally recognized conditions for being an act of that sort.
They fall into two categories, effectives and verdictives,
depending on whether they effect an institutional state of affairs or merely
make an official judgment as to an institutionally relevant state of affairs.
Here are some examples of each:
banning, bidding, censuring, dubbing, enjoining, firing, indicting, moving,
nominating, pardoning, penalizing, promoting, seconding, sentencing, suspending,
acquitting, assessing, calling (by an umpire or referee), certifying,
convicting, grading, judging, ranking, rating, ruling
To appreciate the difference, compare what a judge does when he
convicts someone and when he sentences them. Convicting is the verdictive act of
officially judging that the defendant is guilty. Whether or not the defendant
actually committed the crime, the judge's determination that he did means that
the justice system treat this as being the case. However, in performing the
effective act sentencing him to a week in the county jail, the judge is not
ascertaining that this is his sentence but is actually making it the case.
Speech Acts and Intentions
taxonomy accepts Strawson's observation that most illocutionary acts are
performed not with an intention to conform to a convention but with an
audience-directed communicative intention. But what exactly is a communicative
intention, and why are illocutionary acts generally communicative?
People commonly think of communicating, linguistically or otherwise, as
acts of expressing oneself. This rather vague idea can be made more precise if
we get more specific about what is expressed. Take the case of an apology. If
you say, "[I'm] sorry I forgot your birthday" and intend this as an
apology, you are expressing regret for something, in this case for forgetting
the person's birthday. An apology just is the act of (verbally)
expressing regret for, and thereby acknowledging, something one did that might
have harmed or at least bothered the hearer. It is communicative because it is
intended to be taken as expressing a certain attitude, in this case regret. It
succeeds as such if it is so taken, in which case one has made oneself
understood. Using a special device such as the performative "I apologize"
may of course facilitate understanding -- understanding is correlative with
communicating -- but in general this is unnecessary. Communicative success is
achieved if the speaker chooses his words in such a way that the hearer will,
under the circumstances of utterance, recognize his communicative intention. So,
for example, if you spill some beer on someone and say "Oops" in the right
way, your utterance will be taken as an apology.
Grice discovered that there is something highly distinctive about
communicative intentions: they are reflexive in character. In
communicating a speaker intends his utterance "to produce some effect in an
audience by means of the recognition of this intention" (1957/1989, p. 220).
Consider that, in general, the success of an act has nothing to do with
anyone's recognizing the intention with which it is performed. You won't
succeed in standing on your head because someone recognizes your intention to do
so. But an act of communication is special in this respect. It is successful if
the intention with which it is performed is recognized by the audience, partly
on the basis that it is intended to be recognized. The
intention includes, as part of its content, that the audience recognize this
very intention by taking into account the fact that they are intended to
recognize it. A communicative intention is thus self-referential, or reflexive. An
act of communication is successful if whoever it is directed to recognizes the
intention with which it is performed. In short, its fulfillment consists in its
To appreciate the idea of reflexive intentions and what their fulfillment
involves, consider the following games, which involve something like linguistic
communication. In the game of Charades, one player uses gestures and other
bodily movements to help the other guess what she has in mind. Something like
the reflexive intention involved in communication operates here, for part of
what the first player intends the second player to take into account is the very
fact that the first player intends her gestures etc. to enable him to guess what
she has in mind (nothing like this goes on in the game of 20 Questions, where
the second player uses answers to yes-or-no questions to narrow down the
possibilities of what the first player has in mind). Or consider the following
game of tacit coordination: the first player selects and records an item in a
certain specified category, such as a letter of the alphabet, a liquid, or a
city; the second player has one chance to guess what it is. Each player wins if
and only if the second player guesses right without any help. Now what counts as
guessing right depends entirely on what the first player has in mind, and that
depends entirely on what she thinks the second player, taking into account that
she wants him to guess right, will think she wants him to think. The second
player guesses whatever he thinks she wants him to think. Experience has shown
that when players use the above categories, they almost always both pick the
letter A, water, and the city in which they are located. It is not
obvious what all these "correct" choices have in common: each one stands out
in a certain way from other members of the same category, but not in the same
way. For example, being first (among letters of the alphabet), being the most
common (among liquids), and being local are quite different ways of standing
out. It is still not clear, in the many years since the question was first
raised, just what makes something uniquely salient in such situations.
One suggestion is that it is the first item in the category that comes to mind,
but this won't always be right, since what first comes to the mind of one
player may not be what first comes to the mind of the other.
Whatever the correct explanation of the meeting of the minds in
successful communication, the basic insight underlying Grice's idea of
reflexive intentions is that communication is like a game of tacit coordination:
the speaker intends the hearer to reason in a certain way partly on the basis of
being so intended. That is, the hearer is to take into account that he is
intended to figure out the speaker's communicative intention. The meaning of
the words uttered provides the input to this inference, but what they mean does
not determine what the speaker means (even if he means precisely what his words
means, they don't determine that he is speaking literally). What is
loosely called 'context', i.e., a set of mutual contextual beliefs
(Bach and Harnish, 1979, p. 5), encompasses whatever other considerations the
hearer is to take into account in ascertaining the speaker's intention, partly
on the basis that he is intended to do so.
When Grice characterized meaning something as intending one's utterance
"to produce some effect in an audience by means of the recognition of this
intention," he wasn't very specific about the kind of effect to be produced.
But since meaning something (in Grice's sense) is communicating, the relevant
effect is, as both Strawson (1964) and Searle (1969) recognized, understanding
on the part of the audience. Moreover, an act of communication, as an
essentially overt act, just is the act of expressing an attitude, which
the speaker may or may not actually possess. Since the condition on its success
is that one's audience infer the attitude from the utterance, it is clear why
the intention to be performing such an act should have the reflexive character
pinpointed by Grice. Considered as an act of communication rather than anything
more, it is an attempt simply to get one's audience to recognize, partly on
the basis of being so intended, that a certain attitude is being expressed. One
is as it were putting a certain attitude on the table. The success of any
further act has as its prerequisite that the audience recognize this attitude.
Communication aims at a meeting of the minds not in the sense that the audience
is to think what the speaker thinks but only in the sense that a certain
attitude toward a certain proposition is to be recognized as being put forward
for consideration. What happens beyond that is more than communication.
Implicature and Impliciture
speaker can mean just what he says, or he can mean something more or something
else entirely. Grice's (1975) theory of conversational implicature aims
to explain how. A few of his examples
illustrate nonliterality, e.g., "He was a little intoxicated," but most of
them are cases of stating one thing by way of stating another, e.g., "There is
a garage around the corner," used to tell someone where to get gas, and "Mr.
X's command of English is excellent, and his attendance has been regular,"
used to state (indirectly) that Mr. X is not well-qualified. These are all
examples in which what is meant is not determined by what is said.
Grice proposed a Cooperative Principle
and several maxims which he named, in homage to Kant, Quantity, Quality,
Relation, and Manner (Kant's Modality). As he formulates them, they enjoin one
to speak truthfully, informatively, relevantly,
perspicuously, and otherwise appropriately.
His account of implicature explains how ostensible violations of them can
still lead to communicative success.
Although Grice presents them as guidelines for how to communicate
successfully, I think they are better construed as presumptions made in the
course of the strategic inference involved in communication (they should not be
construed, as they often are, as sociological generalizations). The listener
presumes that the speaker is being cooperative and is
speaking truthfully, informatively, relevantly, perspicuously, and otherwise
appropriately. If an utterance superficially appears not to be conform to
this presumption, the listener looks for a way of taking the utterance so that
it does conform. He does so partly on the supposition that he is intended to.
The speaker takes advantage of this in choosing his words to make evident his communicative
intention. Because of their potential clashes, these maxims or
presumptions should not be viewed as comprising a decision procedure. Rather,
they provide different dimensions of considerations that the speaker may
reasonably be taken as intending the hearer to take into account in figuring out
the speaker's communicative intention. Exploiting these presumptions, a speaker
can say one thing and manage to mean something else, as with "Nature abhors a
vacuum," or means something more, as with "Is there a doctor in the
house?". The listener relies on these presumptions to make a contextually
driven inference from what the speaker says to what he means.
maxims or presumptions do not concern what to convey at a given stage of a
conversation (unless information of a very specific sort is required, say in
answer to a question, there will always be many good ways to contribute a
conversation). Rather, they frame how as a listener you are to figure out what
the speaker is trying to convey, given the sentence he is uttering and
what he is saying in uttering it. Your job is to determine, given that, what he
could have been trying to convey. Why did he say 'believe' rather than
'know', 'is' rather than 'seems', 'soon' rather than 'in an
hour', 'warm' rather than 'hot', 'has the ability to' rather than
Grice's notion of implicature can be extended to illocutionary acts.
With indirection a single utterance is the performance of one
illocutionary act by way of performing another. For example, we can make a
request or give permission by way of making a statement, say by uttering
"It's getting cold in here" or "I don't mind," and we can make a
statement or give an order by way of asking a question, such as "Is the Pope
Catholic?" or "Can you open the door?" When an illocutionary act is
performed indirectly, it is performed by way of performing some other one
When an utterance is nonliteral, as with likely utterances of "My mind
got derailed" or "You can stick that in your ear," we do not mean what our
words mean but mean something else instead. The force or the content of the
illocutionary act being performed is not the one that would be predicted just
from the meanings of the words being used. Occasionally utterances are both
nonliteral and indirect. For example, one might utter "I love the sound of
your voice" to tell someone nonliterally (ironically) that she can't stand
the sound of his voice and thereby indirectly to ask him to stop singing.
Grice gives the impression that the distinction between what is said and
what is implicated is exhaustive (he counted irony, metaphor, and other kinds of
figurative utterances as cases of implicature), but there is a common phenomenon
that Grice seems to have overlooked. Consider that there are many sentences
whose standard uses are not strictly determined by their meanings but are not
oblique (implicature-producing) or figurative uses either. For example, if
one's spouse says "I will be home later" she is likely to mean that she
will be home later that night, not merely at some time in the future. Or suppose
your child comes crying to you with a minor injury and you say to him
assuringly, "You're not going to die." You don't mean that he will never
die but merely that he won't die from that injury. In both cases you do not
mean precisely what you are saying but something more specific. In such cases
what one means is what may be called an expansion of what one says, in
that adding more words ('tonight' or 'from that injury', in the
examples) would have made what was meant fully explicit.
In other cases, such as 'Jack is ready' and 'Jill is late', the sentence
does not express a complete proposition. There must be something which Jack is
being claimed to be ready for and something which Jill is being claimed to be
late to. In these cases what one means is a completion of what one says.
In both sorts of case, no particular word or phrase is being used nonliterally
and there is no indirection. Both exemplify conversational impliciture,
since part of what is meant is communicated not explicitly but implicitly, by
way of expansion or completion.
In impliciture the speaker means something that goes beyond sentence meaning
(ambiguity and indexicality aside) without necessarily implicating anything or
using any expressions figuratively.
is usually credited with the discovery of conventional implicature, but it was
originally Frege's (1892) idea -- Grice merely labeled it. They both claimed
that the conventional meanings of certain terms, such as 'but' and
'still', make contributions to the total import of a sentence without
bearing on its truth or falsity. In "She is poor but she is honest,"
for example, the contrast between being poor and being honest due to the
presence of 'but', according to Grice "implied as distinct from being
stated" (1961, p. 127). Frege and Grice merely appeal to intuition in
suggesting that the conventional contributions of such terms do not affect what
is said in utterances of sentences in which they occur.
In my opinion (Bach, 1999b), the category of conventional implicature
needlessly complicates Grice's distinction between what is said and what is
implicated. Indeed, apparent cases of conventional implicature are really
instances of something else. There are two kinds of case to consider. The first
involves expressions like 'but' and 'still'. If we abandon the common
assumption that indicative sentences express at most one proposition, we can see
that such expressions do contribute to what is said. With "She is poor but she
is honest," the main proposition is that she is poor and she is honest, and
the additional proposition is that being poor precludes being honest. The
intuition that the utterance can be true even if this secondary proposition is
false is explained by the fact that the intuition is sensitive only to the main
proposition. But what is said includes both.
The other kind of case is connected to Grice's suggestion that
conventional implicature involves the performance of "noncentral" speech
acts (1989, p. 122). He had in mind the use of such expressions as these:
all, anyway, at any rate, besides, be that as it may, by the way, first of all,
finally, frankly, furthermore, however, if you want my opinion, in conclusion,
indeed, in other words, moreover, now that you mention it, on the other hand,
otherwise, speaking for myself, strictly speaking, to begin with, to digress, to
oversimplify, to put it mildly
are used to comment on the very utterance in which they occur -- its force,
point, character, or the role in the discourse. I see no reason to call these
second-order speech acts 'implicatures'. In uttering "Frankly, the dean is
a moron," for example, you are not implying that you are speaking
frankly, you are saying something about (providing a gloss or commentary
on) your utterance. As a result, the contribution of an utterance modifier does
not readily figure in an indirect report of what someone said, e.g., "He said
that (*frankly) the dean is a moron." Utterance modifiers are in construction
syntactically but not semantically with the clauses they introduce.
the semantic-pragmatic distinction has been formulated in various ways.
These formulations have fallen into three main types, depending on which other
distinction the semantic-pragmatic distinction was thought most to correspond
linguistic (conventional) meaning vs.
context independence vs. context
my view, none of these distinctions quite corresponds to the semantic-pragmatic
distinction. The trouble with the first is that there are expressions whose
literal meanings are related to use, such as the utterance modifiers mentioned
above. It seems that the only way to specify their semantic contribution (when
they occur initially or are otherwise set off) is to specify how they are to be
used. The second distinction is inadequate because some expressions have
meanings that do not contribute to truth-conditional contents. Paradigmatic are
expressions like 'Alas!', 'Good-bye', and 'Wow!', but utterance
modifiers also illustrate this, as do such linguistic devices as it-clefts and
wh-clefts, which pertain to information structure, not information content. The
third distinction neglects the fact that some expressions, notably indexicals,
are context-sensitive as a matter of their meaning.
A further source of confusion is a clash between two common but different
conceptions of semantics. One takes semantics to be concerned with the
linguistic meanings of expressions (words, phrases, sentences). On this
conception, sentence semantics is a component of grammar. It assigns meanings to
sentences as a function of the meanings of their semantically simple
constituents, as supplied by their lexical semantics, and their constituent
structure, as provided by their syntax. The other conception takes semantics to
be concerned with the truth-conditional contents of sentences (or,
alternatively, of utterances of sentences) and with the contributions that
expressions make to the truth-conditional contents of sentences in which they
occur. The idea underlying this conception is that the meaning of a sentence,
the information it carries, imposes a condition on what the world must be like
in order for the sentence to be true.
Now the linguistic and the truth-conditional conceptions of semantics
would come to the same thing if, in general, the linguistic meanings of
sentences determined their truth conditions, and they all had truth conditions.
Many sentences, though, are imperative or interrogative rather than declarative.
These do not have truth conditions but compliance or answerhood conditions
instead. Even if only declarative sentences are considered, in a great many
cases the linguistic meaning of a sentence does not uniquely determine a truth
condition. One reason for this is ambiguity, lexical or structural. The sentence
may contain one or more ambiguous words, or it may be structurally ambiguous. Or
the sentence may contain indexical elements. Ambiguity makes it necessary to
relativize the truth condition of a declarative sentence to one or another of
its senses, and indexicality requires relativization to a context. Moreover, it
is plausible to suppose that some sentences, such as 'Jack was ready' and
'Jill had enough', though syntactically well-formed, are semantically
incomplete. In these cases, as observed earlier, the meaning of such a sentence
does not fully determine a truth condition, even after ambiguities are resolved
and references are fixed. Syntactic completeness does not guarantee semantic
In order to make sense of the semantic-pragmatic distinction, we need to
take several other distinctions into account. The first involves context. It is
a platitude that what a sentence means generally doesn't determine what a
speaker means in uttering it. The gap between linguistic meaning and speaker
meaning is said to be filled by "context": we say that what the speaker
means somehow "depends on context," or that "context makes it clear"
what the speaker means. But there are two quite different sorts of context --
call them wide and narrow context -- and they play quite
different roles. Wide context concerns any contextual information that is
relevant to determining, in the sense of ascertaining,
the speaker's intention. Narrow context concerns information specifically
relevant to determining, in the sense of providing, the semantic values
of context-sensitive expressions (and morphemes of tense and aspect). Wide
context does not literally determine anything. It is the body of
mutually evident information that the speaker and the hearer exploit, the
speaker to make his communicative intention evident and the hearer, taking
himself to be intended to, to identify that intention.
There are also distinctions to be drawn with respect to the terms
'utterance' and 'interpretation'. An utterance can either be the act of
uttering a sentence or the sentence uttered. Strictly speaking, it is the
sentence that is uttered (the type, not the token) that has semantic properties.
The act of uttering the sentence has pragmatic properties. The notion of the
content of an utterance of a sentence has no independent theoretical
significance. There is just the content of the sentence the speaker is uttering,
which, being semantic, is independent of the speaker's communicative
intention, and the content of the speaker's communicative intention. As for
the term 'interpretation', it can mean either the formal, compositional
determination by the grammar of a language of the meaning of a sentence or the
psychological process whereby a person understands a sentence or an utterance of
a sentence. Using the phrase 'utterance interpretation' indiscriminately, as
often happens, can only confound the issues. For example, talking about the
interpretation of an utterance in a context rather than of a sentence with
respect to a context leads to paradox. An oral utterance of "I am not
speaking" or a waking utterance of "I am asleep" cannot fail to be
false, and yet the sentences themselves are not necessarily false. Relative to
me, the first is true whenever I am not speaking, and the second is true
whenever I am asleep.
As for the semantic-pragmatic distinction, it can be drawn with respect
to various things, such as ambiguities, implications, presuppositions,
interpretations, knowledge, processes, rules, and principles. I take it to apply
fundamentally to types of information. Semantic information is information
encoded in what is uttered -- these are stable linguistic features of the
sentence -- together with any extralinguistic information that provides
(semantic) values to context-sensitive expressions in what is uttered. Pragmatic
information is the (extralinguistic) information the hearer relies on to figure
out what the speaker is communicating. It is generated by, or at least made
relevant by, the act of uttering it.
This way of characterizing pragmatic information generalizes Grice's point
that what a speaker implicates in saying what he says is carried not by what he
says but by his saying it and perhaps by his saying it in a certain way (1989,
of the Semantic-Pragmatic Distinction
Philosophers have long found it convenient to attribute multiple
senses to problematic words like 'and', 'know', 'appear', and
'good'. Grice deplores this tendency and recommends adoption of his
"Modified Occam's Razor: Senses are not to be multiplied beyond necessity"
(1989, p. 47). Wielding it on the many philosophically significant expressions
and constructions that would otherwise seem give rise to ambiguities and other
illustrates the value of enforcing the semantic-pragmatic distinction. Taking
pragmatic considerations into account acknowledges that in everyday speech not
just what a sentence means but the fact that someone utters it plays a role in
determining what its utterance conveys. They explain how the things we mean can
go beyond the things we say and still be understood.
The words 'and' and 'or' provide good illustrations. In logic
'and' is standardly represented as conjunction ('&'), where the
order of conjuncts doesn't matter. Consider, for example, the difference
between what is likely to be conveyed by utterances of (1) and (2).
(1) Hal got pneumonia and went to
(2) Hal went to the hospital and got
the difference in what utterances of (1) and (2) are likely to convey, it is
arguable that the sentences themselves have the same semantic content: it is not
the meaning of 'and' but the fact that the speaker utters the
conjuncts in one order rather than the other that explains the difference in how
each utterance is likely to be taken. If so, then any suggestion of temporal
order, or even causal connection, is not a part of the semantic content of the
sentence but is merely implicit in its utterance (Levinson 2000, pp. 122-27).
One piece of evidence for this is that such a suggestion may be explicitly
canceled (Grice, 1989, p. 39). One could utter (1) or (2) and continue, "but
not in that order" without contradicting what one has just said. One would be
merely canceling any suggestion, due to the order of presentation, that the two
events occurred in that order.
Now it has been argued that passing Grice's cancelability test does not
suffice to show the differences between the two sentences above is not a matter
of linguistic meaning. Cohen (1971) and Carston (1988) have appealed to the fact
that the difference is preserved when the conjunctions are embedded in the
antecedent of a conditional, as here:
(3) a. If Hal got pneumonia and went
to the hospital, he needed a doctor.
b. If Hal went to the hospital and got pneumonia, he needed a lawyer.
the difference is apparent when the two conjunctions are combined:
(4) It's worse to go to the
hospital and get pneumonia than to get pneumonia
and go to the hospital.
these examples do not show that the relevant differences are a matter of
linguistic meaning. A simpler hypothesis, one that does not ascribe a temporal
much less a causal meaning to 'and', is that these examples, like the
simpler (1) and (2), involve conversational impliciture, in which what the
speaker means is an implicitly qualified version of what he says. Likely
utterances of (1) and (2) are made as if they included an implicit 'then'
after 'and', and are likely to be taken accordingly (with (1) there
is also likely to be an implicit 'as a result'). The speaker is exploiting
Grice's maxim of manner in describing events in their order of occurrence, and
the hearer relies on the order of presentation to infer the speaker's
intention in that regard. On the pragmatic approach, 'and' is treated as
unambiguously truth-functional, without having additional temporal or causal
Even though in logic 'or' is usually represented only as inclusive
it is often thought that in English there is also an exclusive 'or'. Also,
it has been thought that the presence of 'or' entails that the speaker does
not know which of the disjuncts obtains. So consider (5) and (6), for example.
(5) You can have coffee, tea, or
(6) Phaedo is in the den or the
utterance of (5) is likely to be taken as exclusive. This might seem to be a
consequence of the presence of an exclusive 'or', but a better explanation
is that if the speaker meant that you could have more than one beverage he would
have said so and that if he meant that you could have all three he would have
used 'and'. As Levinson explains cases like this and a wide variety of
others, "What isn't said, isn't" (2000, p. 31). As for (6), the
exclusivity of the disjunction is explained by the fact that something can't
be in two places at once. Also, there is no reason to attribute an epistemic
aspect to 'or', for in uttering (6), the speaker is conversationally
implicating that he doesn't know which room the dog is in. This implication is
not due to the meaning of the word 'or' but rather to the presumption that
the speaker is supplying as much relevant and reliable information as he has.
The distinction between what an expression means and how it is used had a
direct impact on many of claims formerly made by so-called ordinary-language
philosophers. In ethics, for example, it was (and sometimes still is) supposed
that because sentences containing words like 'good' and 'right' are used
to express affective attitudes, such as approval or disapproval, such sentences
are not used to make statements (and even that questions of value and morals are
therefore not genuine matters of fact). This line of argument is fallacious. As
G. E. Moore pointed out, although one expresses approval (or disapproval) by
making a value judgment, it is the act of making the judgment, not the content
of the judgment, that implies that one approves (1942, pp. 540-45). Sentences
used for ethical evaluation, such as 'Loyalty is good' and 'Cruelty is
wrong', are no different in form from other indicative sentences, which,
whatever the status of their contents, are standardly used to make statements.
This leaves open the possibility that there is something fundamentally
problematic about their contents. Perhaps such statements are factually
defective and, despite syntactic appearances, are neither true nor false.
However, this is a metaphysical issue about the status of the properties to
which ethical predicates purport to refer. It is not the business of the
philosophy of language to determine whether goodness and wrongness are real
properties (or whether the goodness of loyalty and the wrongness of cruelty are
genuine matters of fact).
The fallacious line of argument exposed by Moore commits what Searle
calls the "speech act fallacy." Searle gives further examples, each
involving a speech act analysis of a philosophically important word (1969, pp.
136-41). These analyses claim that because 'true' is used to endorse or
concede statements (Strawson), 'know' to give guarantees (Austin), and
'probably' to qualify commitments (Toulmin), those uses constitute the
meaning of these words. In each case the mistake is the same: identifying what
the word is typically used to do with its semantic content.
Searle also exposes the "assertion fallacy," which confuses
conditions of making an assertion with what is asserted. Here are two examples:
because you would not assert that you believes something if you were prepared to
assert that you know it, knowing does not entail believing; similarly, because
one would not be described as trying to do something that involves no effort or
difficulty, trying entails effort or difficulty. Grice (1961) identified the
same fallacy in a similar argument, due to Austin, about words like 'seems',
'appears', and 'looks': since you would not say that a table looks old
unless you (or your audience) doubted or were even prepared to deny that the
chair was old, the statement that the table looks old entails that its being old
is doubted or denied. This argument is clearly fallacious, since it draws a
conclusion about entailment from a premise about conditions on appropriate
assertion. Similarly, you wouldn't say that someone tried to stand up
if doing it involved no effort or difficulty, but this doesn't show that
trying to do something entails that there was effort or difficulty in doing it.
You can misleadingly imply something without its being entailed by what you say.
As illustrated by many of the examples above, the semantic-pragmatic
distinction helps explain why what Grice called "generalized" conversational
implicature is a pragmatic phenomenon, even though it involves linguistic
regularities of sorts. They are cancelable, hence not part of what is said, and
otherwise have all the features of "particularized" implicatures, except
that they are characteristically associated with certain forms of words. That
is, special features of the context of utterance are not needed to generate them
and make them identifiable. As a result, they do not have to be worked out step
by step in the way that particularized implicatures have to be. Nevertheless,
they can be worked out. A listener unfamiliar with the pattern of use could
still figure out what the speaker meant. This makes them standardized but not
Finally, the semantic-pragmatic distinction seems to undermine any
theoretical role for the notion of presupposition, whether construed as semantic
or pragmatic. A semantic presupposition is a precondition for truth or
falsity. But, as argued long ago by Stalnaker (1974) and by Bo"r & Lycan
(1976), there is no such thing: it is either entailment or pragmatic. And
so-called pragmatic presuppositions come to nothing more than
preconditions for performing a speech act successfully and felicitously,
together with mutual contextual beliefs taken into account by speakers in
forming communicative intentions and by hearers in recognizing them. In some
cases they may seem to be conventionally tied to particular expressions or
constructions, e.g., to definite descriptions or to clefts, but they are not
really. Rather, given the semantic function of a certain expression or
construction, there are certain constraints on its reasonable or appropriate
use. As Stalnaker puts it, a "pragmatic account makes it possible to explain
some particular facts about presuppositions in terms of general maxims of
rational communication rather than in terms of complicated and ad hoc hypotheses
about the semantics of particular words and particular kinds of constructions"
(1974/1999, p. 48).
The examples we have considered illustrate the significance of the
semantic-pragmatic distinction and the rationale of trying to explain linguistic
phenomena in as general a way as possible. The explanatory strategy is to appeal
to independently motivated principles and processes of rational communication
rather than to special features of particular expressions and constructions. It
is applicable to certain important topics in the philosophy of language taken up
elsewhere in this volume, including conditionals, the referential-attributive
distinction, and propositional attitude ascriptions. Needless to say, the issues
are more complex and contentious than our discussion has indicated, but at least
our examples illustrate how to implement what Stalnaker has aptly described as
"the classic Gricean strategy: to try to use simple truisms about conversation
or discourse to explain regularities that seem complex and unmotivated when they
are assumed to be facts about the semantics of the relevant expressions"
(1999, p. 8). Economy and plausibility of explanation
are afforded by heeding the semantic-pragmatic distinction. Rather than
attribute dubious ambiguities or needlessly complex properties to specific
linguistic items, we proceed on the default assumption that uses of language can
be explained by means of simpler semantic hypotheses together with general facts
about rational communication. In this way, we can make sense of the fact that to
communicate efficiently and effectively people rarely need to make fully
explicit what they are trying to convey. Most sentences short enough to use in
everyday conversation do not literally express things we are likely ever to
mean, and most things we are likely ever to mean are not expressible by
sentences we are likely ever to utter. That's something to think about.
J. L. (1962). How to do things with words. Oxford: Oxford University
K. (1987a). On communicative intentions: A reply to Recanati. Mind &
Language, 2, 141-154.
K. (1994). Conversational impliciture. Mind & Language, 9, 124-162.
K. (1995). Standardization vs. conventionalization. Linguistics and
Philosophy, 18, 677-686.
K. (1999a). The semantics-pragmatics distinction: What it is and why it matters.
Turner (Ed). The semantics-pragmatics interface from different points of view
(pp. 65-84). Oxford: Elsevier.
K. (1999b). The myth of conventional implicature. Linguistics and Philosophy,
K. (2001). You don't say? Synthese, 125, 11-31.
K. & R. M. Harnish (1979). Linguistic communication and speech acts.
Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
K. & R. M. Harnish (1992). How performatives really work: A reply to Searle. Linguistics
and Philosophy, 15, 93-110.
S. & W. Lycan (1976). The myth of semantic presupposition. Bloomington,
IN: Indiana Linguistics Club.
R. (1988). Implicature, explicature, and truth-theoretic semantics. In Ruth
Kempson (Ed). Mental Representations: The Interface between Language and
Reality (pp. 155-181). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
L. J. (1971). Some remarks on Grice's views about the logical particles of
natural language. In Y. Bar-Hillel (Ed). Pragmatics of Natural Language (pp.
50-68). Dordrecht: Reidel.
S. (Ed). (1991). Pragmatics: A reader. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
H. B. (1975). Hedged performatives. In P. Cole & J. Morgan (Eds). Syntax
and Semantics, Vol. 3 (pp. 187-210). New York: Academic Press.
G. (1980). On sense and reference." In P. Geach and M. Black (Eds). Translations
from the Philosophical Writings of Gottlob Frege, 3rd ed. (pp. 56-78). Oxford:
(Original work published 1892).
H. P. (1957). Meaning. Philosophical Review, 66, 377-388
H. P. (1961). The causal theory of perception. Proceedings of the
Aristotelian Society, Supp. Vol. 35, 121-152.
H. P. (1969). Utterer's meaning and intentions. Philosophical Review,
H. P. (1975). Logic and conversation. In P. Cole &
J. Morgan (Eds). Syntax and semantics, Vol. 3 (pp. 41-58). New York:
H. P. (1989). Studies in the way of words. Cambridge, MA: Harvard
R. M. (1976). Logical form and implicature. In T. Bever, J. Katz, & T.
Langendoen (Eds). An integrated theory of linguistic ability (pp.
313-392). New York: Crowell.
I. (1960). Contextual implication. Inquiry, 3, 211-258.
S. C. (2000). Presumptive meanings: The theory of generalized conversational
implicature. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
G. E. (1942). A reply to my critics. In P. A. Schilpp (Ed). The philosophy of
G. E. Moore (pp. 535-677). Evanston and Chicago: Northwestern University
S. (1992). Paul Grice and the philosophy of language. Linguistics and
Philosophy, 15, 509-59.
F. (1987). On defining communicative intentions. Mind & Language, 1,
F. (1989). The pragmatics of what is said. Mind & Language, 4,
F. (2001). What is said. Synthese, 125, 62-79.
T. (1960). The strategy of conflict. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
S. (1972). Meaning. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
J. R. (1968). Austin on locutionary and illocutionary acts. Philosophical
Review, 77, 405-424.
J. R. (1969). Speech acts: An essay in the philosophy of language. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge
J. R. (1975). Indirect speech acts. In P. Cole & J. Morgan (Eds). Syntax
and Semantics, Vol. 3 (pp. 59-82). New York: Academic Press.
J. R. (1989). How
performatives work. Linguistics and Philosophy, 15, 535-558.
D. & D. Wilson (1986). Relevance. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University
R. (1974). Pragmatic presuppositions. In M. Munitz & P. Unger (Eds). Semantics
and Philosophy (pp. 197-213). New York: New York University Press.
R. (1999). Context and content. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
P. F. (1964). Intention and convention in speech acts. Philosophical Review,
L. (1953). Philosophical investigations. New York: Macmillan.
Suggested Further Reading
J. L. (1962). How to do things with words. Oxford: Oxford University
Press. The classic lectures on performatives and speech acts.
K. (1994). Conversational impliciture. Mind & Language, 9, 124-162.
Not to be confused with Grice's implicature, impliciture marks the middle
ground between what is said and what is implicated.
K. & R. M. Harnish (1979). Linguistic communication and speech acts.
Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Integrates ideas of Austin, Strawson, and Grice into a
systematic theory of speech acts and of communicative intention and inference.
S. (Ed). (1991). Pragmatics: A reader. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
This collection includes
Carston (1988), Grice (1969 and 1975), Harnish (1976)
Recanati (1989), Stalnaker (1974), Strawson
(1964), and excerpts from Bach & Harnish (1979).
H. P. (1989). Studies in the way of words. Cambridge, MA: Harvard
collection includes all of Grice's papers cited here, as well as a
S. C. (2000). Presumptive meanings: The theory of generalized conversational
implicature. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. This monumental work reformulates
Grice's maxims, examines a huge range of linguistic data, and presents an
account of the systematic ways in which we mean more than we say.
Stephen (1992). Paul Grice and the philosophy of language. Linguistics and
Philosophy, 15, 509-59. A clear and comprehensive presentation of Grice's
main views and their philosophical significance.
J. R. (1969). Speech acts: An essay in the philosophy of language. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge
University Press. A theory of speech acts in terms of constitutive rules, with
applications to specific problems in the philosophy of language.
J. R. (1979). Expression and Meaning. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University
Press. A collection of Searle's important papers on topics relevant to speech
acts and pragmatics.
R. (1999). Context and content. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Contains
essays on the role of context in accounting for how language is used to express
Z. (Ed.) (2003). Semantics vs. Pragmatics. Oxford: Oxford University
Press. A collection of new articles on the semantics/pragmatics distinction and
 We generally do this by using a performative verb like 'promise', 'pronounce', 'apologize', or 'request' in a sentence beginning with 'I' followed by a performative verb in present tense and active voice. The first-person plural is possible too ("We promise ..."), as is the second-person passive ("Smoking is prohibited"). The word 'hereby' may be inserted before the performative verb to indicate that the utterance in which it occurs is the vehicle of the performance of the act in question.
 However, it does seem that in uttering, say, "I promise you a rose garden," a speaker is at least saying that he is promising the hearer a rose garden. And what he is saying is true just in case he is making that promise.
 Of course, every utterance is conventional insofar it is made with linguistic means. The question here, though, is whether special conventions are needed to explain the performativity of certain utterances.
 Austin's focus on such cases led him to develop an account of what it takes for these formalized utterances to be performed successfully and a classification of the various things that can go wrong ("flaws," "hitches," and other sorts of "infelicities").
 It follows that an account of explicit performatives should not appeal, as Searle's (1989) elaborate account does, to any special features of the performative formula. Bach & Harnish (1992) argue that Searle's account is based on a spurious distinction between having a communicative intention and being committed to having one and on a confusion between performativity and communicative success.
 There numerous other forms of words which are standardly used to perform speech acts of certain types without making explicit the type of act of being performed, e.g. "It would be nice if you ..." to request, "Why don't you ...?" to advise, "Do you know ...?" to ask for information, "I'm sorry" to apologize, and "I wouldn't do that" to warn. Even in the case of hedged and embedded performatives, such as "I can assure you ...," "I must inform you ...," "I would like to invite you ...," and "I am pleased to be able to offer you ...," in which the type of act is made explicit, the alleged conventions for simple performative forms would not apply. For discussion of hedged and embedded performatives, see Fraser (1975) and Bach & Harnish (1979, pp. 209-19).
 The variety of linguistic forms that can be used to perform a given sort of speech act is too open-ended to be plausibly explained by a special convention that specifies just those linguistic forms whose utterance counts as the performance of an act of that sort. Their standardization does not show that they are governed by special conventions. Rather, it provides a precedent that serves to streamline the inference required for their successful performance (see Bach, 1995).
 In fact, Grice oddly claimed that in speaking nonliterally, as in irony and metaphor, one is not saying anything but merely "making as if to say" (1989, p. 30). This was because he understood saying something to entail meaning it. He seems to have conflated the locutionary act of saying with the illocutionary act of stating (to be sure, we often use the word 'say' for both).
 These are three reasons why the notion of locutionary acts is indispensable, as Bach & Harnish (1979, pp. 288-9) argue in reply to Searle (1968).
 A detailed taxonomy is presented in Bach & Harnish (1979, ch. 3), where each type of illocutionary act is individuated by the type of attitude expressed. In some cases there are constraints on the content as well. We borrow the terms 'constative' and 'commissive' from Austin and 'directive' from Searle. We adopt the term 'acknowledgment' rather than Austin's 'behabitive' or Searle's 'expressive' for apologies, greetings, thanks, congratulations, condolences, etc., which express an attitude to the hearer that is occasioned by some event that is thereby being acknowledged, often in satisfaction of a social expectation.
 The difference between expressing an attitude and actually possessing it is clear from the following definition: to express an attitude in uttering something is reflexively (see the next section) to intend the hearer to take one's utterance as reason to think one has that attitude. This reason need not be conclusive and if in the context it is overridden, the hearer will, in order to identify the attitude being expressed, search for an alternative and perhaps nonliteral interpretation of the utterance. For discussion see Bach & Harnish (1979, pp. 57-59 and 289-91).
 Correlatively, the hearer can understand the utterance without regarding it as sincere, e.g., take it as expressing regret without believing that the speaker regrets having done the deed in question. Getting one's audience to believe that one actually possesses the attitude one is expressing is not an illocutionary but a perlocutionary act.
 This distinction and the following examples are drawn from Bach & Harnish (1979, ch. 6).
 Partly because of certain alternative wordings and perhaps indecision (compare his 1969 with his 1957 article), Grice's analysis is sometimes interpreted as defining communicative intentions iteratively rather than reflexively, but this not only misconstrues Grice's idea but leads to endless complications (see Strawson, 1964, and especially Schiffer, 1972, for good illustrations). Recanati (1986) has pointed to certain problems with the iterative approach, but in reply I have argued (Bach, 1987) that these problems do not arise on the reflexive analysis.
 This question was raised by Schelling, who was the first to discuss games of tacit coordination (1960), pp. 54-58).
 If the hearer thinks the speaker actually possesses the attitude he is expressing, in effect she is taking him to be sincere in what he is communicating. But there is no question about his being sincere in the communicative intention itself, for this intention must be identified before the question of his sincerity (in having that attitude) can even arise. In other words, deceiving your audience about your real attitude presupposes successfully expressing some other attitude. You can be unsuccessful in conveying your communicative intention -- by being too vague, ambiguous, or metaphorical, or even by being wrongly taken literally -- but not insincere about it.
 For a review of earlier approaches, to what used to be called "contextual implication," see Hungerland (1960).
 In Bach & Harnish (1979, p. 7), we replace Grice's Cooperative Principle with our own CP, the "Communicative Presumption." This is the mutual belief when one person says something to another, he does so with a recognizable communicative intention.
 For discussion of Grice's maxims, their weaknesses, and their conflicts, see Harnish (1976/1991, pp. 330-40), and see Levinson (2000) for extensive discussion and adaptation of them to various types of generalized conversational implicature.
 Two Gricean approaches to indirect speech acts are presented in Searle (1975) and Bach & Harnish (1979, chs. 4 and 9).
 These ideas are presented in Bach (1994). Sperber & Wilson speak of implicitures as the 'explicit' content of an utterance, but their neologism 'explicature' (1986, p. 182) for this in-between category is rather misleading. It is a cognate of 'explicate', not 'explicit', and explicating, making something explicit that isn't, is not the same thing as making it explicit in the first place. That's why I prefer the neologism 'impliciture', since in these cases part of what is meant is communicated only implicitly.
 Recanati (1989) suggests that on intuitive grounds the notion of what is said should be extended to cover such cases, but clearly he is going beyond Grice's understanding of what is said as corresponding to the constituents of the sentence and their syntactic arrangement. The syntactic correlation constraint entails that if any element of what the speaker intends to convey does not correspond to any element of the sentence he is uttering, it is not part of what he is saying. Of course it may correspond to part of what he is asserting, but I am not using 'say' to mean 'assert'. In the jargon of speech act theory, saying is locutionary, not illocutionary. Recanati and I have renewed our debate on whether intuition or syntax constrains what is said in Recanati (2001) and Bach (2001).
 Utterances like "You're not going to die" may be described as cases of sentence nonliterality, because the words are being used literally but the sentence as a whole is being used loosely. Compare the sentence mentioned in the text with sentence, "Everybody is going to die," which would likely to be used in a strictly literal way.
 A classification of these and many other utterance modifiers is given in Bach (1999b, sec. 5).
 For a collection of sample formulations, see the Appendix to Bach (1999a).
 For this reason, I do not accept Stalnaker's contention that "we need a single concept of context that is both what determines the contents of context-dependent expressions, and also what speech acts act upon" (1999a, p. 4).
 This conception of the distinction is defended and contrasted with alternatives in Bach (1999a). To the extent that the debate about the semantic-pragmatic distinction isn't entirely terminological, perhaps the main substantive matter of dispute is whether there is such a thing as "pragmatic intrusion," whereby pragmatic factors allegedly contribute to semantic interpretation. Various linguistic phenomena have been thought to provide evidence for pragmatic intrusion, hence against the viability of the semantic-pragmatic distinction, but in each case, in my opinion (Bach, 1999a), this is an illusion, based on some misconception about the distinction. When it and the related distinctions enumerated above are observed, there is no issue of pragmatic intrusion. Levinson (2000) argues that many alleged cases of pragmatic intrusion are really instances of generalized conversational implicature, which he thinks is often misconstrued as a purely semantic phenomenon.
 This sounds like a combination of Grice's Quantity and Quality maxims, or what Harnish proposed as the "Maxim of Quantity-Quality: Make the strongest relevant claim justifiable by your evidence" (1976/1991, p. 340; see also note 46, p. 361).
 Levinson describes them as "default meanings," but he does not mean sentence meanings. He thinks of them as comprising an "intermediate layer" of meaning, of "systematic pragmatic inference based not on direct computations about speaker-intentions but rather on general expectations about how language is normally used, [... which] give rise to presumptions, default inferences, about both content and force" (2000, p. 22). In my view, this does not demonstrate an intermediate layer of meaning -- there is still only linguistic meaning and speaker meaning -- but rather the fact that speakers' communicative intentions and hearers' inference are subject to certain systematic constraints based on practice and precedent (see Bach, 1995).