Questions are higher-level acts

Academia Letters:1-5 (2021)
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Questions are not on all fours with assertions or directions, but higher-level acts that can operate on either to yield theoretical questions, as when one asks whether the door is closed, or practical questions, as when one asks whether to close it. They contain interrogative force indicators, which present positions of wondering, but also assertoric or directive force indicators which present the position of theoretical or practical knowledge the subject is striving for. Views based on the traditional force-content distinction take the indicative mood for granted and therefore do not understand assertion in contrast to direction, but in contrast to questions and other higher-level acts such as logical and fictional acts. But a corresponding sign like Frege's judgement stroke can only redundantly signal the absence of a higher-level act.

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Michael Schmitz
University of Vienna


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