ArgLab • Colloquium

Marcin Lewiński on “Illocutionary pluralism and implicit arguments to and against authority”

ArgLab Research Colloquium

Illocutionary pluralism posits that via one utterance a speaker can convey a plurality of conventionally recognizable, primary illocutions (Johnson, 2019; Lewiński, 2021a, 2021b; Sbisà, 2013). This idea violates one of the tenets of traditional speech act theory, namely, the one utterance–one illocutionary function principle. By extension, it poses a challenge to approaches to argumentation that benefit from the pragmatic framework of speech act theory. My aim is to show that such pluralism is in fact an ordinary fact about communication and to draw its consequences for argumentation theory.

In particular, I explore how the pragmatics of resorting to, establishing, and challenging authority (Langton, 2015; 2018a; 2018b; Maitra, 2012; Witek, 2013; 2019) relates to the dynamics of argumentative discourse. Argumentation theory traditionally recognizes arguments by the authority of the speakers themselves (ethotic arguments) and arguments from the authority of someone else (e.g., arguments from the position to know, from expert opinion). I instead focus on how illocutionary moves can establish arguments to the authority of either the speaker or the hearer, and how these arguments can be challenged via pragmatic moves reconstructible as arguments against authority. I take the speech acts of soliciting and giving advice as a case in point.

Marcin Lewiński, NOVA University of Lisbon (Portugal)

This event is part of the ArgLab Research Colloquium organised by Maria Grazia Rossi, Andrés Soria Ruiz and Nuno Venturinha at the ArgLab. For any inquiries, please contact Maria Grazia, Andrés, or Nuno.

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