Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy (MCMP)

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Talk: Rae Langton (Knightbridge Professor of Philosophy at the University of Cambridge)

Location: Geschwister-Scholl-Pl. 1, main building, Room M 210

09.09.2022 11:30  – 13:00 


Getting norms from speech acts by accommodation


Doing things with words can create an ought that was not there before: Jones makes a promise, a master orders a slave. With the first example, Searle ‘derived’ an ought from an is. With the second, Lewis showed that permissibility follows a ‘rule of accommodation’. While presupposition accommodation is familiar to philosophers of language, this ‘illocutionary' accommodation is not. Norms, good and bad, can be got from speech acts by accommodation: what is said ‘requires and thereby creates’ what is required, given certain conditions. Authority is one such a condition. Presupposition accommodation and illocutionary accommodation are distinct, but can work together, in a two-part process. Hearers assist, when they accommodate presupposed authority or presupposed norms. As hearers, we sometimes need to stop helping.