Most of my research and writing has been concerned with language and logic.
When it comes to language, I have been primarily concerned with speech acts, or language acts. At present, and in the recent past, I am, and have been, focused on the intersection of logic and the theory of speech acts. This requires that I articulate a conceptual framework which accommodates language acts and logical theories, and that I develop some logical theories for investigation language acts and arguments composed of language acts. I originally thought that in carrying out this project, I was developing the field of illocutionary logic that John Searle and Daniel Vanderveken introduced in the book Foundations of Illocutionary Logic.
I now understand both logic and language acts somewhat differently than I used to, and while I still say that I am investigating and developing illocutionary logic, this isn’t quite the field that Searle and Vanderveken had in mind. Illocutionary logic studies language acts and language-act logical theories. Some of these theories are locutionary theories, while others deal with illocutionary acts and illocutionary arguments. I have published a number of papers on the logic of language acts, some of which can be accessed from the present page, and have been working for a long time on a book which both articulates the conceptual framework mentioned above, and which develops some logical theories which might be called explicitly language-act logical theories.
My own experience with my own work has been that once I have published a paper, or book, and am satisfied that I have provided an adequate treatment of a given topic, I then find numerous respects in which the published work isn’t adequate, either because it is seriously incomplete, or contains errors, or both. Perhaps this should discourage me from carrying out further research, or, at least, from publishing the results. But that is a lesson I haven’t taken to heart. Instead, I am encouraged by this process, for I feel that I am making progress. If I hadn’t carried out the research, and published what I did, I would never have discovered my mistakes, and would never have been in a position to correct them. This process is both frustrating and rewarding, but it keeps things interesting. In fact, this is the real attraction of philosophy for me.
I am making available both some published papers, and some current work. For most of the published papers, I don’t have the actual published versions available on line. Instead I make available the final drafts from which the published versions were prepared. When I do this, I try to correct errors of grammar or spelling or other small slips that were present in the original draft.
The published papers that I am making available are:
1. “Propositional Logic of Supposition and Assertion,” Notre Dame Journal of Formal Logic 38 (1997), 325-349. This was the first paper I published of an explicitly language-act logical theory. It develops a logical system for investigating assertive illocutionary arguments.
2. “An Illocutionary Logical Explanation of the Surprise Execution,” History and Philosophy of Logic 20 (2000), 195-214.
3. “Conditional Assertion, Denial, and Supposition as Illocutionary Acts,” Linguistics and Philosophy 29 (2006), 455-485.
4. “An Illocutionary Logical Explanation of the Liar Paradox,” History and Philosophy of Logic 28 (2007), 31-66.
5. “An Illocutionary Conception of Syntax, Semantics, and Pragmatics,” Studies in Logic 2, (2009), published by Sun Yat-sen University and the Chinese Association of Logic, 1-19.
6. “Using Illocutionary Logic to Understand Vagueness,” Logique & Analyse 207, (2009), 219-238.
The annual Logica conference held every June in the Czech Republic is my favorite conference, and is surely the most agreeable conference anywhere devoted solely to logic. Preparing short papers for presentation there has helped me a lot to develop my understanding of logic, and to make my views intelligible to other people. I have made some of those papers available here.
1. “Logic is the Study of a Human Activity,” The Logica Yearbook 2001, T. Childers and O. Majer eds., Filosofia, Prague, 2002, 101-110.
2. “The Logical Difference between Knowledge and Justified Belief,” The Logica Yearbook 2005, M. Bilkova and O Tomala eds., Filosofia, Prague, 101-112.
3. “Recapturing the Epistemic Dimension of Logic,” The Logica Yearbook 2006, O. Tomala and R . Honzík eds., Filosofia, Prague, 105-116.
4. “Illocutionary Origins of Familiar Logical Operators,” The Logica Yearbook 2007, Michal Peliš ed., Filosofia, Prague, 55-66.
5. “What is Natural about Natural Deduction,” The Logica Yearbook 2009, Michal Peliš ed., College Publications, London, 121-132.
6. “Logics of Fact and Fiction, Where do Possible Worlds Belong?,” The Logica Yearbook 2011, Michal Peliš, Vit Punčochář eds., College Publications, London, 97-106.
7. “The Larger Logical Picture,” The Logica Yearbook 2015, Pavel Arazim and Michal Dančák eds., College Publications, London, 107-116.
8. “‘I asked you to mail that letter, not burn it,’ An illocutionary logical analysis of directive acts and arguments,” to appear in The Logica Yearbook 2017.
The book I am working on is (tentatively) titled Truth and Commitment, Essays in the Logic of Language Acts. Drafts of the first four chapters are accessible from this page.
Chapter 1 A Propositional Theory of Assertive Illocutionary Arguments
Chapter 2 The Larger Logical Picture
Chapter 3 Varieties of Assertive Acts
Chapter 4 Conditional Illocutionary Acts