Two Concepts of Opposition, Multiple Squares

Part of the Studies in Universal Logic book series (SUL)


This paper uses the resources provided by systems of illocutionary logic to characterize an opposition among assertive illocutionary acts that is parallel to incompatibility or inconsistency among statements. It is argued that opposition, or incoherence, among assertive illocutionary acts is more fundamental than inconsistency, and that our understanding of incoherence “underwrites” our conception of inconsistency. Diagrams are provided to illustrate relations of incoherence that are like such traditional diagrams as the square of opposition, which displays relations among statements.


Illocutionary logic Speech acts Logic of speech acts Inconsistency Incoherence 

Mathematics Subject Classification

03B42 03B60 03B80 


  1. 1.
    Kearns, J.T.: Conditional assertion, denial, and supposition as illocutionary acts. Linguist. Philos. 29, 455–485 (2006) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Vanderveken, D., Searle, J.: Foundations of Illocutionary Logic. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (1985) MATHGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Basel 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Philosophy and Center for Cognitive ScienceUniversity at Buffalo, the State University of New YorkBuffaloUSA

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