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I hereby ask this, a question in the form of a performative utterance
March 13, 2005 10:07 AM   Subscribe

I've been fascinated for a while by actions that we can take simply by saying that we're taking them. I recently found out these are called "performative utterances"; the classic examples are firing someone by saying "You're fired", or getting married by saying "I do (take him/her to be my...)". These things pop up all the time in mathematics (in fact one might say that mathematics consists almost entirely of such statements). What are some other arenas where they arise naturally? Are there other parts of life that are almost completely performative in this sense? Any favorite examples?

I've found a few discussions such things online, but they tend to be hardcore philosophical or linguistical -- are there others that you know of?
posted by gleuschk to Religion & Philosophy (71 answers total)
 
maths is only like that if you're not a platonist?
declarative programming, in a way.
there's a game that consists entirely of making up rules about the game, but i can't remember it's name (or the details - presumably it's more than saying "the person who makes up this rule wins"). playing that.
posted by andrew cooke at 10:24 AM on March 13, 2005


Well to expand on the marriage example, the various stages of a relationship are often no more than saying "we're going out" "we're broken up" "we're going to start seeing other people." Andrew, I think you're thinking of Nomic
posted by jessamyn at 10:28 AM on March 13, 2005


Is this the same as speech-act theory? It's been a long time since grad school.

Law would appear to fit with your description: defendants verbally declare their guilt or plead their innocence, judges pronounce sentences, psychiatrists attest to, and thereby assign, responsibility or the lack thereof. Obviously, law has an overabundance of paper documentation, but the performative aspects of the trial are paramount.
posted by bibliowench at 10:29 AM on March 13, 2005


"we're going to start seeing other people."

I don't think that counts.

Would "We the jury find the defendant guilty" count? I can't decide whether that's the moment he's found guilty, or whether it's earlier, when the jury decides this in the courtroom.
posted by NickDouglas at 10:32 AM on March 13, 2005


"I find the defendant guilty as charged" does that work?
posted by riffola at 10:32 AM on March 13, 2005


yes, thanks, jessamyn. never played it - just reading about it makes my head hurt.
(incidentally, greg egan takes a strong non-platonist line in one of his stories, which involves the universe changing as maths is developed)
posted by andrew cooke at 10:34 AM on March 13, 2005


A formal occasion where this happens is the Muslim 'triple talaq' divorce.
posted by calico at 10:34 AM on March 13, 2005


I didn't see Nick's comment even on preview.
posted by riffola at 10:34 AM on March 13, 2005


a large chunk of being a dictator?
posted by andrew cooke at 10:36 AM on March 13, 2005


Other examples: prayer, ritual, casting spells. Word games that children play ("eenie, meenie, miny, moe...")
posted by rjs at 10:43 AM on March 13, 2005


BTW, John Austin's How To Do Things With Words is very readable discussion on performative language, if you're tired of the jargon you're finding on the web. Of course, much of this jargon is based on Austin, but he has a comparatively clear writing style.
posted by bibliowench at 10:46 AM on March 13, 2005


This idea has always fascinated me too. It seems like it's the heart of what amazes people about old-style "magic words", "spells", etc. In western cultures, there is a clear split between saying and doing, eg "do as I say, not as I do," "actions speak louder than words," and so on. Maybe it has to do with power, like andrew's dictator comment? For the most powerful people, words do make things happen, but for most of us it takes actual action.

I only really started thinking about this after reading Dibbel's A Rape in Cyberspace which talks both explicitly and implicitly about this topic. In a world in which actions and words blur together, can things people "say" be criminal?

Sort of off-topic, but that's what's most intriguing to me about these kinds of things.
posted by heresiarch at 10:51 AM on March 13, 2005


And God said, Let there be light.
posted by grumblebee at 10:56 AM on March 13, 2005


This may be slightly off track but I do remember reading an article about self-referential sentences that may be interesting. I think there are areas where that may intersect with what you're talking about. On this list for example there is the sentence:
This sentence contradicts itself; well, no, actually it doesn't.
posted by dodgygeezer at 10:59 AM on March 13, 2005


Are there other parts of life that are almost completely performative in this sense? Any favorite examples?

Politics.
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 11:05 AM on March 13, 2005


Seconding bibliowrench. How to Do Things with Words is very well-written and interesting. He ends up abandoning the performative/constative distinction for a three-way characterization: a statement is said to have locutionary, illocutionary (this corresponds roughly to performative) and perlocutionary aspects. One of the reasons for the abandonment is that if you give up the requirement that the statements be of an explicitly performative form ("I'm warning you, don't go into that mine!" or "you are hereby warned, don't go into that mine!"), as seems sensible, you find performative elements in a very broad and hard to characterize range of utterances.

They arise in explicit form wherever interaction is highly ritualized, so weddings, the law, etc but also many forms of more minor social interaction. "I bet you that such-and-such". If you want to placate someone or indicate that you acknowledge your own error, you say "I apologize". If you want to reassure someone that you really mean something you say "I promise". If you can insert "hereby" into a second-person passive sentence, you've probably got one.
posted by kenko at 11:07 AM on March 13, 2005


Take me to your leader.
posted by fixedgear at 11:10 AM on March 13, 2005


I'm continually astounded by the fact that people are offended by certain words -- just the words themselves. I can't think of any word that offends me. I absolutely CAN be offended by words, if I feel that certain intent in behind them, but the words themselves are neutral. So if somone hates me, It makes no difference if they say, "I hate you, you meanie" or "I hate you, you motherfucker." Both are equally offensive, because of the intent behind the remark.

My wife sometimes uses the C-word, and many women get confused and angry when she does. I've never heard her call a woman the C-word, but she might say, "I'm having a c*** of a day today," and some women get really offended when she says that.

I can't believe I'm using asterisks instead of spelling the word, but I've gotten so much flack...
posted by grumblebee at 11:14 AM on March 13, 2005


I took a class on Discouse Analysis last term that addressed this specifically, so here's what I remember.

Austin's speech-act theory basically says that when we talk, we accomplish things. When we say, "want to get a coffee?" we're inviting someone, when we say, "you suck" we're insulting someone. Now, the actual words said and how they're understood/what they do can differ, and this is how sarcasm and/or misunderstandings happen. To explain this, he talks about locution (what is said) and illucution (how it is meant) and perlocution (how it is understood). Example:

Locution: "It sure is cold in here."
Illocution: Turn up the heat, damnit.
Perlocution (if misunderstood): description of temperature

In performative utterances, all three match. Example:

Locution: "I promise to ..."
Illocution: Promise to ...
Perlocution: Promise to ...

Some examples of performatives include promising, apologizing, requesting, nominating, sentencing, commanding, etc. In most utterances where there is no sarcasm or misunderstanding, the illocution and perlocution will match, but the locution doesn't include the word(s) that describe the act.

There are some examples that are close to, but not quite what you are looking for. For example, insulting is something we do through speech, but we don't say "I insult you."
posted by heatherann at 11:15 AM on March 13, 2005 [1 favorite]


"There is no God but God, and Mohammed is His only Prophet."
"I quit smoking." (sorta)
Pretty much all pledges -- e.g. the US Presidential pledge.
posted by maschnitz at 11:30 AM on March 13, 2005


In performative utterances, all three match. Example:

Locution: "I promise to ..."
Illocution: Promise to ...
Perlocution: Promise to ...


Well—not necessarily. Specifically the perlocution is what's done through the utterance, so in this case the perlocution might be persuading the person you're talking to of your sincerity, or some such.
posted by kenko at 12:40 PM on March 13, 2005


it's not just statements but actions too--walking hand-in-hand, kissing in public, etc. -- gender and cultural studies people have spoken of this a lot. This on Judith Butler explains more "through language, gesture, and all manner of symbolic social sign"

gender acts and social reality--sort of an "all the world's a stage" thing.
posted by amberglow at 12:43 PM on March 13, 2005


My favorite examples from Austin include naming things. Christening boats, kids, pets, and so on are important speech acts. (As long as certain conventions are met -- Austin has a great example of a rogue interrupting a boat christening, grabbing the champagne and breaking it over the stern, declaring it the "Generalissimo Stalin" or something like that.)

Unfortunately the most common speech acts may be instances of hate speech. When one calls someone by a racial or sexist epiphet specifically in order to harm that person, that is a speech act. I read an article by a person named Charles Lawrence (I think) that proposed that the proper regulation of hate speech would distinguish between perlocutionary and illocutionary acts. (Using "niggardly" may have a certain perlocutionary force that harms, though there was no illocutionary act intended to harm.)
posted by ontic at 1:09 PM on March 13, 2005


"You're on my shit list."
posted by hellbient at 1:17 PM on March 13, 2005


"I promise." "I swear."

Questionable: "Listen to me."
posted by NickDouglas at 1:19 PM on March 13, 2005


Wow, thanks all. Keep 'em coming.

andrew: I hadn't thought about my post being a statement in philosophy of math. I was thinking more of things like, "And now we let n go to infinity..." or "when we divide by x..." or even "... thus finishing the proof". There are lots more examples, even if we leave epistemology out of it.

Most of the courtroom examples seem a bit off to me (though my knowledge of the law derives entirely from Law & Order). If the judge says "I find you in contempt" (or guilty, or whatever), she's not doing it right then, by saying so, is she? She's already done the finding, and what she's doing now is announcing it? But maybe she has to say it in order to have it actually happen, in the eyes of the court. Hm. OK, I guess I buy it.

Thanks for the recommendations of Austin's book. It came up several times in my web searches, but always surrounded by seas of jargon. I'm glad to hear the actual thing is more readable.
posted by gleuschk at 1:34 PM on March 13, 2005


An assembly run by Robert's Rules of Order or similar is full of performative utterances.
posted by grouse at 1:44 PM on March 13, 2005


Definitely read Austin. He's an utterly charming writer. If you feel like getting into some slightly techier and more up-to-date (but I think still fairly readable, though nothing like Austin) linguistics texts on the subject, there's also a good discussion of speech acts and a survey of some different arguments over the way they work in the Cambridge University Press Pragmatics textbook, by Stephen Levinson.

(You can also look at the brief section on the subject in my wedding program, which I think you may have already seen.)
posted by redfoxtail at 1:49 PM on March 13, 2005 [1 favorite]


gleuschk, along the lines of the "I find you in contempt", consider the quotation from the umpire Bill Klem, on asked whether a pitch was a ball or a strike: "it ain't nothing till I call it".
posted by kenko at 1:51 PM on March 13, 2005


Speech Act Theory.
The big reference here is "How to Do Things with Words" (1962)—J.L. Austin.

"You're under arrest" is the classic example.
posted by ruelle at 2:06 PM on March 13, 2005


redfoxtail: yep, it was from your program that I learned the name. It just took me a few months to get around to looking for more information.
posted by gleuschk at 2:12 PM on March 13, 2005


redfoxtail, that's really cute.
posted by kenko at 2:16 PM on March 13, 2005


(But I only just now noticed the radish! How could I miss it?)
posted by gleuschk at 2:21 PM on March 13, 2005


Derrida talks about how the performative exists in a context, which is an interesting development to the picture. Saying "I do" in a church with a priest is different than saying "I do" on a theater stage or sarcastically amongst friends. He's quite dense, but if you find yourself reading more about this, you may want to read through Signature, Event, Context, or a summary of its arguments.

(redfoxtail, that's awesome.)

Another example would be a declaration of war.
posted by rfordh at 2:26 PM on March 13, 2005


Derrida talks about how the performative exists in a context, which is an interesting development to the picture. Saying "I do" in a church with a priest is different than saying "I do" on a theater stage or sarcastically amongst friends.

Er, Austin does that too.
posted by kenko at 2:30 PM on March 13, 2005


I give up!

Also, what are the words used for knighting someone? And... deputization? And "I claim this land in the name of the king and Queen of X".

I am done!
posted by taz at 2:33 PM on March 13, 2005


(I should have mentioned that, but yes, he does. He's quoted, addressed, and built upon. Forgive the omission.)
posted by rfordh at 2:35 PM on March 13, 2005


redfoxtail's wedding program has hereby made my week.
posted by painquale at 3:09 PM on March 13, 2005


John Searle did quite a bit of his early work further developing Austin's theories. I think Speech Acts is the book to read.

As an undergrad I read (and wrote about) a pair of articles in which the first writer defended a feminist (MacKinnon, if anybody cares) definition of pornography which included that it "silenced women," by claiming that it taught men to ignore certain illocutionary speech from women (refusals, for example), leading directly to rape.

The response article consisted mostly of a reducto, saying that if pornography did silence women's refusals (by preventing uptake, which is a felicity condition for illocutionary speech) then the result wouldn't actually be rape, because the women never actually performed the illocutionary act of refusal.

I think both arguments are garbage-- I have a hard time buying the silencing of women by pornography, and obviously rape is not just refused sex, but sex without consent (there might have been something about making "no mean yes," though then it's just garbage for different reasons). But still, I thought it was an interesting application of performative speech.
posted by cosmonaught at 3:10 PM on March 13, 2005


Searle is crap. Read Grice and Cavell.
posted by kenko at 3:21 PM on March 13, 2005


Some literary theorists have pushed Austin's speech-act theory to the point of arguing that all speech is performative. Thus Stanley Fish asserts that "there is no pure speech, only speech-acts, only speech that spills out into the world and alters it". This has enormous implications for legal theory, since certain forms of speech (e.g. hate speech, pornography) would arguably lose their right to First Amendment protection if they could be redefined as speech-acts.
posted by verstegan at 3:29 PM on March 13, 2005


I knew Searle was crap when it came to phillosophy of mind, and now speech acts... is he just worthless all around?
posted by cosmonaught at 3:38 PM on March 13, 2005


Without going to far in Fish's direction, it seems to me that much of love song and poetry is by its very nature performative, especially when a poet/singer attempts by singing or writing to win over a reluctant lover, win back a lost one, or make himself forget about love entirely. The other thing that comes to my mind is the conventional beginnings (technical term: proem) of epic poems which always contain interesting (to me at least) examples of performative speech:

Homer:
Iliad I.1: "Goddess, sing the wrath of Peleus' son Achilles..."

Odyssey I.1: "Muse, tell of the man of many turnings who suffered many labors..."

Virgil:
Aeneid I.1: "Arms and the man I sing..."

Milton:
Paradise Lost I.1: "Of man's first disobedience and the fruit of that forbidden tree...sing heavn'ly muse..."

And the best, I think, in English:

Spencer, Faerie Queene 1

"Lo I the man, whose Muse whilome did maske,
    As time her taught, in lowly Shepheards weeds,
    Am now enforst a far vnfitter taske,
    For trumpets sterne to chaunge mine Oaten reeds,
    And sing of Knights and Ladies gentle deeds;
    Whose prayses hauing slept in silence long,
    Me, all too meane, the sacred Muse areeds
    To blazon broad emongst her learned throng:
Fierce warres and faithfull loues shall moralize my song.

Helpe then, ô holy Virgin chiefe of nine,
    Thy weaker Nouice to performe thy will,
    Lay forth out of thine euerlasting scryne
    The antique rolles, which there lye hidden still,
    Of Faerie knights and fairest Tanaquill,
    Whom that most noble Briton Prince so long
    Sought through the world, and suffered so much ill,
That I must rue his vndeserued wrong:
O helpe thou my weake wit, and sharpen my dull tong."
posted by mokujin at 3:40 PM on March 13, 2005


I wrote this while AskMe was down early this afternoon so if I'm repeating somethings, so be it.

The examples at the beginning of this thread can all fall under the heading of ritual. You can look at a lot of anthropology, since basically the entire feild deals with transformative performances. I'm being very general, but one simple example with words in particular are Western religions--Islam, Christianity, Judaism--which are religions of the book, scripture as the source of everything in the religion (different from say, Buddhism). Every ritual comes from their books, the highest authority, everything is brought into being through the words of the book; in these religions God created the world with words, and it was good by His saying so.

Further, linguistics, when it was conceived by Saussure, was seized upon by theorists in their attempt to unify all the human sciences under a single methodology known as structuralism. Lacan wrote that language was not expression, but a preconceived requirement for existence. Claude Lévi-Strauss applied this to anthropology, using language as a basis to examine ritual and kinship, where he examined that that relationships between terms/phenomena are more important than the terms themselves (when one gets married, it is the relationship between the people that matters, and the words only signify that relationship, and they are meaningless without this relationship; the words of scripture are meaningless without the beleiver's relationship to their beleifs, the words themselves have no inherent meaning; etc.). Structuralism is one way in which language was used to examine social relationships/existence.

Anyway, this may not be any help but only to complicate things further since this is a huge issue, bringing something into being by uttering it. It is really facinating and has theories on all sides (poststructuralism: postcolonial theory, deconstructionism/Derrida, etc.). If you're interested in structuralism I would say the most accessible thing to read is Barthes, as he is playful and covers a range of subjects. I would also reccommend this book, which I love, if you're interesting in more thorough parsing of the ideas.
posted by scazza at 3:42 PM on March 13, 2005


Some literary theorists have pushed Austin's speech-act theory to the point of arguing that all speech is performative.

Yeah ... like Austin did.
posted by kenko at 3:45 PM on March 13, 2005


In terms of what mokujin is saying, The White Goddess by Graves also deals with ritual as it was transformed into poetry.
posted by scazza at 3:49 PM on March 13, 2005


Shouting after "anyone not ready for a take?" "roll sound" "speed" "roll camera" "action:"

"This take is ruined!"

Also: "Consider yourself warned/threatened."
posted by Sticherbeast at 3:59 PM on March 13, 2005


oh crap, I forgot my favorite speech act ever, from the 1911 britannica entry for ACONTIUS:

ACONTIUS (Gr. Akontios}, in Greek legend, a beautiful youth of the island of Ceos, the hero of a love-story told by Callimachus in a poem now lost, which forms the subject of two of Ovid's Heroides (xx., xxi.). During the festival of Artemis at Delos, Acontius saw Cydippe, a well-born Athenian maiden of whom he was enamoured, sitting in the temple of the goddess. He wrote on an apple the words, " I swear by the sacred shrine of the goddess that I will marry you," and threw it at her feet. She picked it up, and mechanically read the words aloud, which amounted to a solemn undertaking to carry them out. Unaware of this, she treated Acontius with contempt; but, although she was betrothed more than once, she always fell ill before the wedding took place. The Delphic oracle at last declared the cause of her illnesses to be the wrath of the offended goddess; whereupon her father consented to her marriage with Acontius (Aris-taenetus, Epistolae, i. 10; Antoninus Liberalis, Metamorphoses, i., tells the story with different names).
posted by mokujin at 4:05 PM on March 13, 2005


Locution: "I promise to ..."
Illocution: Promise to ...
Perlocution: Promise to ...

Well—not necessarily. Specifically the perlocution is what's done through the utterance, so in this case the perlocution might be persuading the person you're talking to of your sincerity, or some such.


I've always understood "promising" to include assuring someone that you're sincere, so I don't think there's a contradiction here.

gleuschk, my class used Deborah Cameron's Working With Spoken Discourse and I found it quite good. Of course, it covers a lot more material than just speech-act theory, but you may find the rest of it interesting as well. It's informative but you don't need to slog through it, which is always nice. :)
posted by heatherann at 5:03 PM on March 13, 2005


The answer to "Do you have anything to declare?"

Mythical Alan Greenspan quote: "I would like to cast doubt on the strength of the stock market."

Nonexample: "Don't think of an elephant." This is rather like the mathematical examples, really; let E not be an elephant.
posted by Aknaton at 5:37 PM on March 13, 2005


"I disagree."
posted by flashboy at 5:46 PM on March 13, 2005


I've always understood "promising" to include assuring someone that you're sincere, so I don't think there's a contradiction here.

Well, I haven't.
posted by kenko at 6:02 PM on March 13, 2005


Anyway, I think the issue isn't what you think promising automatically includes, but how you're going to conceptualize the purpose of any given promissory utterance. If my sincerity isn't at issue—you believe perfectly well that I am utterly and completely sincere in my intention to do X—then my saying to you, "I promise to do X" doesn't reassure you of my sincerity. It might, instead, signal something about the priority I'll assign X. Or my promising might have some other effect on you. That's the perlocution. It needn't be the same in different situations, even if the utterances are identical.
posted by kenko at 6:09 PM on March 13, 2005


A lot of comments above seems to confuse speech acts with commands. Giving an order is not the same as making a proclamation (the latter is a speech act, the former is not). "Shoot to kill" is not a speech act. "I hereby sentence you to death by firing squad" is.
posted by bingo at 6:58 PM on March 13, 2005


But, "I instruct you to shoot to kill" is. Any command can be made a performative utterance by prepending "I (hereby) instruct (command, order, ask, request, importune, tell, etc) you to". This is part of the reason Austin ends up abandoning the performative/constative distinction.
posted by kenko at 7:03 PM on March 13, 2005


"I confess."
posted by Clay201 at 8:31 PM on March 13, 2005


kenko, If that's true, then the idea becomes a lot less interesting to me. Following a statement such as "we surrender", the dynamics of a situation are suddenly entirely different. Before the statement, the scene would be described as "X and Y Forces Battle at Location Z", but post-statement, the very same scene is "X Forces Defeat Y at Location Z".

Here the situation changes nature immediately following the words. On the other hand, a commander who instructs troops with "[I command you to] Fight to the death" doesn't seem to me to make a scene change with these words. The scene is still troops about to enter battle... Perhaps they will follow instructions, perhaps not. Or something else may occur and the battle may never take place, etc.
posted by taz at 8:35 PM on March 13, 2005


Here the situation changes nature immediately following the words. On the other hand, a commander who instructs troops with "[I command you to] Fight to the death" doesn't seem to me to make a scene change with these words. The scene is still troops about to enter battle... Perhaps they will follow instructions, perhaps not. Or something else may occur and the battle may never take place, etc.

But the scene does change in the same way. First there were troops about to enter battle, and now there are troops about to enter battle who are under orders to shoot to kill. Whether or not they follow the order is as irrelevant as how the surrendering troops in your previous example are treated once captured. Their status changes with the speech act; where before they were under orders to do X, now they are under orders to shoot to kill. From this it follows that they may be reprimanded if they don't follow the order, etc.
posted by ludwig_van at 9:40 PM on March 13, 2005


My favorite:"I crown thee King."
posted by nixerman at 10:07 PM on March 13, 2005


Here the situation changes nature immediately following the words.

Which is nothing special; if I say, "You, taz, are an ass," the situation will change quite dramatically from "X and Y are at peace" to "X is throttling Y." But my speech is just something meaningful.

Still, "I do" seems to both change a situation dramatically and be a speech act. Some of the writers discussed above probably explore whether speech acts are somehow in a realm of meaning either Platonic or humanly constructed; a marriage is a human/Platonic concept, whereas sex, for example, is a concrete concept observable outside the human realm. The same goes for commands and promises, as all are only possible within the distinctly human realm of abstract language.
posted by NickDouglas at 10:20 PM on March 13, 2005


"I do" is not performative speech.
"I pronounce you man and wife" is.
posted by ruelle at 12:52 AM on March 14, 2005


Lemma is a geometrical game of inventing rules

It inspired me to come up with Word Lemma--all rules must obey themselves (frex, each rule begins with a vowel) and be consistant with previous rules from that game.
posted by Nancy Lebovitz at 12:57 AM on March 14, 2005


ruelle,

If "I do" is an ellipsis for "I do take her/him as my wife/husband," then I think it is completely performative. If it means something more like "I will," or "yes," then it might not be, but even then I am not so sure.
posted by mokujin at 4:07 AM on March 14, 2005


I was thinking that before about "I do." I think ruelle is right because you're not married when you say "I do," it's not a marriage until it's pronounced. For instance, let's say the first person says "I do" but the second person suddenly flees. Then they're not married and the "I do" didn't accomplish marriage. However, if both "I do"s happen, then the pronouncement can happen, and that actually makes the marriage happen. (The "I do"s could be counted as a felicity condition* for the pronouncement.)

*Felicity conditions are the other things necessary in order to make the performative actually work. "I pronounce you man and wife" doesn't work unless the rest of the ceremony has happened, the person speaking is officiating, the people are male and female (I assume they say something slightly different for same-sex marriages), etc. I can't just run around marrying people by saying it, because those felicity conditions are not met.
posted by heatherann at 5:01 AM on March 14, 2005


Language interpreting, or interpreting for the deaf.
posted by adamrice at 6:36 AM on March 14, 2005


Interpreting for the deaf is in fact a case of language interpretation/translation -- signed languages are languages too! I'm not quite sure what you have in mind when you characterize translation itself as a speech act. What's interesting about translation is that it is a circumstance in which the person making the (translated) utterances is not considered responsible for those utterances' illocutionary force, even though that illocutionary force is conveyed in the act of translating. If a translator, in translating, says "I promise to meet you at six," the translator is not the one who has made that promise, though a promise has indeed been made.

This thread is driving me slightly nuts because all my books are currently packed away for moving. So many nice references that I don't have at my fingertips. Oh well.
posted by redfoxtail at 9:05 AM on March 14, 2005


Ruelle, Heatherann,

Wikipedia Performative Utterance
posted by mokujin at 2:17 PM on March 14, 2005


Also paragraphs 2a and 8 from redfoxtail's Nuptial Handout (pdf):
2a. Performative utterances “[T]o utter the sentence (in, of course, the appropriate circumstances) is not todescribe my doing of what I should be send in so uttering to be doing or tostate that I am doing it: it is to do it.... When I say, before the registrar or altar, &c., ‘I do,’ I am not reporting on a marriage: I am indulging in it.”(Austin 1962: 6).

redfoxtail, that is the greatest marriage program in the history of time.
posted by mokujin at 2:27 PM on March 14, 2005


redfoxtail, that is the greatest marriage program in the history of time.

Oh, sure, nobody loves the abstract algebra jokes, but drop in one little reference to Austin...
posted by snarkout at 2:41 PM on March 14, 2005


Snark, I loved the algebra joke. But you knew that already.
posted by gleuschk at 6:48 PM on March 14, 2005


If said in a loud voice, would "I am woman, hear me roar" count?
posted by Asparagirl at 2:20 PM on March 16, 2005


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