A Pragmatic Logic for Commands by Melvin Joseph Adler

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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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.

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