Papers

Most of my research and writing has been concerned with language and logic. When it comes to language, I have been primarily concerned with the theory of speech acts, or language acts. At present, and in the recent past, I have focused on the combination, or the intersection, of logic and the theory of speech acts. This involves articulating a conceptual framework which accommodates language acts and logical theories. I originally thought of my project as being to develop the field of illocutionary logic that John Searle and Daniel Vanderveken introduced in the book Foundations of Illocutionary Logic, and many of my papers were characterized as contributions to illocutionary logic.

I now understand both logic and language acts somewhat differently than I used to, and take my focus to be on speech act or language act logical theories. Some language act logical theories are locutionary theories, others deal with illocutionary acts and illocutionary arguments. I have published a number of papers on the logic of language acts, some of which can be accessed from the present page, and am working on a book which both articulates the conceptual framework mentioned above, and which develops some logical theories which might be called explicitly language act logical theories.
My own experience with my own work has been that once I have published a paper, or book, and am satisfied that I have provided an adequate treatment of a given topic, I then find numerous respects in which the published work isn’t adequate, either because it is seriously incomplete, or contains errors, or both. Perhaps this should discourage me from carrying out further research, or, at least, from publishing the results. But that is a lesson I haven’t taken to heart. Instead, I am encouraged by this process, for I feel that I am making progress. If I hadn’t carried out the research, and published what I did, I would never have discovered my mistakes, and would never have been in a position to correct them. This process is both frustrating and rewarding, but it keeps things interesting. In fact, this is the real attraction of philosophy for me.
I am making available both some published papers, and some current work. For most of the published papers, I don’t have the actual published versions available on line. Instead I make available the final drafts from which the published versions were prepared. When I do this, I try to correct errors of grammar or spelling or other small slips that were present in the original work.

I am making available both some published papers, and some current work. For most of the published papers, I don’t have the actual published versions available on line. Instead I make available the final drafts from which the published versions were prepared. When I do this, I try to correct errors of grammar or spelling or other small slips that were present in the original work.

The published papers that I am making available are:

  1. “Propositional Logic of Supposition and Assertion,” Notre Dame Journal of Formal Logic 38 (1997), 325-349. This was the first paper I published of an explicitly language-act logical theory. It develops a logical system for investigating assertive illocutionary arguments.
  2. “An Illocutionary Logical Explanation of the Surprise Execution,”  History and Philosophy of Logic 20 (2000), 195-214.
  3. “Conditional Assertion, Denial, and Supposition as Illocutionary Acts” Linguistics and Philosophy 29 (2006), 455-485.
  4. “An Illocutionary Logical Explanation of the Liar Paradox,” History and Philosophy of Logic 28 (2007), 31-66.
  5. “An Illocutionary Conception of Syntax, Semantics, and Pragmatics,” Studies in Logic 2, (2009), published by Sun Yat-sen University and the Chinese Association of Logic, 1-19.
  6. “Using Illocutionary Logic to Understand Vagueness,” Logique & Analyse 207, (2009), 219-238.

The annual Logica conference held every June in the Czech Republic is among the world’s most pleasant and most illuminating conferences, and is surely the most agreeable conference devoted solely to logic. Preparing short papers for presentation there has helped me a lot to develop my understanding of logic, and to make my views intelligible to other people. I have made some of these papers available here.

  1. “Logic is the Study of a Human Activity,” The Logica Yearbook 2001, T. Childers and O. Majer eds., Filosofia, Prague, 2002, 101-110.
  2. “The Logical Difference between Knowledge and Justified Belief,” The Logica Yearbook 2005, M. Bilkova and O Tomala eds., Filosofia, Prague, 101-112.
  3. “Recapturing the Epistemic Dimension of Logic,” The Logica Yearbook 2006, O. Tomala and R . Honzík eds., Filosofia, Prague, 105-116.
  4. “Illocutionary Origins of Familiar Logical Operators,” The Logica Yearbook 2007. Michal Peliš ed., Filosofia, Prague, 55-66.
  5. “What is Natural about Natural Deduction,” The Logica Yearbook 2009. Michal Peliš ed.,  College Publications, London, 121-132.
  6. “Logics of Fact and Fiction, Where do Possible Worlds Belong?,” The Logica Yearbook 2011. Michal Peliš, Vit Punčochář eds., College Publications, London, 97-106.
  7. “The Larger Logical Picture,” forthcoming in The Logica Yearbook 2015. This paper sketches the conceptual framework which accommodates language acts and logical theories, and provides the best available introduction to explicitly language-act logical theories.

The book I am working on is tentatively titled Truth and Commitment, Essays in the Logic of Language Acts. Drafts of the first three chapters are accessible from this page.

  1. Chapter 1 A Propositional Theory of Assertive Illocutionary Arguments
  2. Chapter 2 The Larger Logical Picture
  3. Chapter 3 Conditional Illocutionary Acts