A Rightness-Based Theory of Communicative Propriety

Australasian Journal of Philosophy 97 (1):121-135 (2019)
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ABSTRACTWe express and communicate many attitudes beyond belief, such as amusement, joy, admiration, hatred, and desire. I consider whether there are any general norms that would cover all of these cases. The most obvious generalisation of the most popular norms for assertion, fittingness-based theories, fail in part because it is sometimes an intrinsic good to have certain kinds of mental states. I develop an alternative, rightness-based, approach, according to which it is appropriate to communicate a mental state to an interlocutor when it is right to make the interlocutor have that mental state because of the speech act. This view arises naturally from conversational participants’ common interests, and it helps to make sense of linguistic phenomena like expressives.
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Archival date: 2019-11-09
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