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 resources for A Pragmatic Logic for Commands
The derivation will be explained via some examples as the transformations themselves do not, I think, really represent anything startlingly new linguistically. Consider (8) -'(11) below. (8)a. b. c. (Tom, it rains, today, shut this window). Tom, if it rains today then shut this window ! Tom, if it rains today shut this window ! (9)a. (Joe, the sun shines in the morning, the next three days, water the grass). Joe, if the sun shines in the morning during the next three days then water the grass !
D. e. f. g. h. (Nick, I, now, go home). Nick, if the time is now, then go home ! Nick, now, go home ! Nick, right now, go home ! Nick, go home, now ! Nick, go home, right now ! Go home, now ! Go home, right now ! , deep) syntactic structure. , by writing the addressee, the word 'if', the execution-pre condition, the time during which the command is in force, the word 'then' and the command's mooted action - all in that order). The V 52 A PRAGMATIC LOGIC FOR COMMANDS forms of (8), (10), and (11) are obtained from the 'b' forms by dele tion and, in the case of (9)c, by deletion and a (meaning preserving) movement rule.
We must examine how addressees decide which command is to be obeyed and on what basis such decisions are made. Often, decisions are based on a hierarchy of authorities - the addressee ranks the au thorities concerned and usually chooses to obey the highest one. For example, an army private given conflicting commands by different offi cers might decide which to obey on the basis of the army officer's hi34 In cases where the addressee cannot rank the authorities hi- erarchy. THE PRAGMATICS OF COMMANDS 27 erarchically, or even if he can but finds some authorities to be po sitioned in incomparable positions in the hierarchy, then a decision will be made on the basis of other factors which remain unanalyzed in this essay as they are usually not a facet of the institution of com mands, but are rather factors of a different nature.