Is it possible to mean something (in the Gricean sense) by being silent? Surely yes: we have the pregnant pause, and silence can speak volumes. I could also make an arrangement with you whereby if I don’t speak at a certain time I am wishing to communicate to you that (say) I want to leave. But then meaning is possible without a speech act, without any kind of utterance. How then can speaker meaning be an action at all? Speech acts need not be acts! Could all communications be silent? If so, Gricean speaker meaning is not a type of action in its essence. Speaker meaning happens to consist of acts with us most of the time, but this is quite contingent. So-called speech act theory is not essentially about acts.
0 0 Colin McGinn Colin McGinn2015-12-16 15:18:592015-12-16 15:18:59Silence and Speech