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Subject Philosophy

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405106795.2004.x


Philosophy of language An influential distinction in modern philosophical semantics . Each sentence can be divided into a descriptive content and a force–indicator. The sense or descriptive content is the state of affairs that the sentence describes and its meaning . It is the bearer of a truth–value . The force is the assertive, interrogative, or imperative or other way in which the content is conveyed. Force has nothing to do with the truth or falsity of a sentence. Sentences with the same sense can occur with different forces, and a force can be attached to any given sense. This distinction is generally believed to be based on Frege's distinction between assertion ( judgment ) and thought (content). On this basis, Austin developed his speech act theory, for it is the force that determines what speech act is performed by an utterance of a sentence. It is also the basis for the emotivist distinction between descriptive meaning and evaluative meaning . R. M. Hare 's distinction between phrastics and neustics corresponds to it as well. Dummett makes use of this distinction to criticize Wittgenstein 's claim that philosophy of language is an investigation of how language is used in particular language–games . The same linguistic expression certainly has different forces in different games, but that does not mean that the expression does not have a persistent ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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