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Signification et action

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 March 2010

Candida de sousa Melo*
University of California, Berkeley


ABSTRACT: In the logical tradition of analytical philosophy, to understand the meaning of an utterance is to understand its truth conditions. In the tradition of natural language analysis, meaning is related to language use. Since Grice, meaning is linked to speakers’ attitudes and actions. Following Austin, Searle, and Vanderveken, to mean is to use words with the intention of performing illocutionary acts. Such acts have felicity conditions instead of truth conditions. The aim of my work is to clarify the nature of meaning in the second tradition. In my view, to mean something is mainly to attempt to perform illocutionary acts. Any attempt is an intentional action rather than an attitude.

RÉSUMÉ : Dans la tradition logique de la philosophie analytique, comprendre la signification d’un énoncé, c’est comprendre ses conditions de vérité. Dans la tradition du langage naturel, la signification est liée à l’usage du langage. Depuis Grice, elle est liée aux attitudes et aux actions des interlocuteurs. Selon Austin, Searle et Vanderveken, signifier c’est utiliser des mots avec l’intention d’accomplir des actes illocutoires. Pareils actes ont des conditions de félicité plutôt que des conditions de vérité. Selon nous, signifier c’est essentiellement tenter d’accomplir des actes illocutoires. Et comme toute tentative est une action intentionnelle plutôt qu’une attitude, signifier c’est agir intentionnellement.

Copyright © Canadian Philosophical Association 2009

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