Friday, May 25: Peter Klecha

Please join us this Friday as Peet Klecha (Linguistics, Swarthmore) presents work on conditionals and speech acts.

Date and time: Friday, May 25, 11:00 a.m. – 12:50 p.m.

Location: Stuart 209 (Philosophy seminar room)

Title: Going performative again (with conditionals)


I’m developing a formal framework for modeling speech acts, including explicit performatives, which involves modeling things like assertions as special cases of explicit performatives; in other words, a revival of the Performative Hypothesis (Ross 1970, Lakoff 1968, McCawley 1968, Sadock 1968).

I’ll try this model out on an explicit formal analysis of conditionals (including normal conditionals like (1) and biscuit conditionals like (2)) which capitalizes on the intuition (DeRose & Grandy 1999) that in a biscuit conditional, what is conditionalized is the speech act itself.

1) If you need me, I’ll come find you.

2) If you need me, my name is Al.

Unlike prior approaches along these lines, my model makes clear precisely a conditional speech act is. I will also make and defend two far-from-ordinary claims:  i) speech act operators are present in the syntax, and ii) assertions are a species of exhortative or imperative. The analysis of both kinds of conditional then fall out from the standard restrictor approach to conditionals (Kratzer 1986).

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