Document Acts

In Anita Konzelmann-Ziv & Hans Bernhard Schmid (eds.), Institutions, Emotions, and Group Agents: Contributions to Social Ontology. Springer. pp. 19-31 (2014)
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The theory of document acts is an extension of the more traditional theory of speech acts advanced by Austin and Searle. It is designed to do justice to the ways in which documents can be used to bring about a variety of effects in virtue of the fact that, where speech is evanescent, documents are continuant entities. This means that documents can be preserved in such a way that they can be inspected and modified at successive points in time and grouped together into enduring document complexes. We outline some components of a theory of document acts, and show how it can throw light on certain problems in Searleā€™s ontology of social reality.

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Barry Smith
State University of New York, Buffalo


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