, Volume 196, Issue 3, pp 1151–1165 | Cite as

Investigating illocutionary monism

  • Casey Rebecca JohnsonEmail author


Suppose I make an utterance, intending it to be a command. You don’t take it to be one. Must one of us be wrong? In other words, must each utterance have, at most, one illocutionary force? Current debates over the constitutive norm of assertion and over illocutionary silencing, tend to assume that the answer is yes—that each utterance must be either an assertion, or a command, or a question, but not more than one of these. While I think that this assumption is intuitive, I will argue in this paper that it is not sustainable. I’ll argue that this assumption makes it hard to explain what determines illocutionary force in a consistent and non-ad hoc way. I will demonstrate this is not fatal for the notion of illocutionary force writ large by offering some alternatives.


Illocution Monism Pluralism Speech act theory Illocutionary force 


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of ConnecticutStorrsUS

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