By Melvin Joseph Adler
The aim of this essay is to either speak about instructions as a species of speech act and to debate instructions in the broader framework of ways they're used and reacted to.
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Extra info for A Pragmatic Logic for Commands
For the sake of argument and also to enable us to point out exactly where the real conceptual difference lies, let us grant this point. The issue is whether or not to indicate the type of speech act being performed within the formalism. Propositional operator theorists believe that it should be: for example, if a proposition is to be used to express a command then they add a special symbol to it - the 'command operator' to indicate this fact. What ap pears to be the fatal flaw in their approach is the entire notion of marking deep structure with a speech act indicator.
Furthermore, only a finite number of dif ferent ways of obeying any particular command have to be con sidered. In the case of commands which demand that the ad dressee should continue performing some action (or maintain some state) the assumption is that each time he performs the action (or re-realizes the state if he has slipped out of it) he has to perform only a finite number of actions. (iii) If an addressee has to choose from an infinite set, either he first picks a finite subset out of which he makes his choice or pragmatic restrictions force him to make a choice within a finite length of time.
For ex ample, someone commanded to make sure a certain door stays open might choose to stand there and tell everyone passing through it not to shut the door: but this is merely one of the many different possible ways of obeying the command. He might, for instance, just stand there and THE PRAGMATICS OF COMMANDS 35 physically stop anyone from shutting it, or he might gimmick the door so that it can no longer be shut, or he might just put up a sign ask ing anyone who passes through not to shut the door, and so on.