[lit-ideas] Re: Thanksgiving: An Illocutionary Approach

  • From: Jlsperanza@xxxxxxx
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 24 Nov 2011 02:13:55 -0500 (EST)

In a message dated 11/24/2011 1:21:36 A.M.  Eastern Standard Time, 
jejunejesuit.geary2@xxxxxxxxx writes:
And a very merry  giving of thanks to JL ...
Thankful Mike 

You're welcome.  

Incidentally, it is all religious. Of course, the object of 'thee' in "I  
thank thee", in the case of Thanksgiving, is God. Now, in terms of 
illocutionary  logic, thanking _God_ is quite an issue. Also the communality 
thank thee",  rather than mono-utterer, "I" thank _thee_) requires some 
logic about  joint intentions.
What Searle calls 'felicity' conditions for 'happy' thanksgiving should  
apply here. The Pilgrims were possibly thanksgiving before they arrived to  
Plymouth, MA. Yet, thanksgiving as such was only much later celebrated in  
England, and only due to the American influence. And so on.
I read from "Foundations of illocutionary logic" - 
John R. Searle, Daniel Vanderveken - 1985 - Language Arts &  Disciplines, 
p. 212:
"The point of thanking is to express gratitude. The preparatory conditions  
are that the thing in question benefits or is good for the [utterer] and  
that the [addressee] is responsible for it."
"As with apologies, one normally thanks for actions, but the propositional  
need not necessarily represent an action provided that the [addressee] IS  
"Thus //thank// is an expressive illocutionary
force of the form..."
"Psi Sigma -/, where Psi (i, p) = {gratitude, p} and Sigma (i, p) = P, the  
proposition that [addresee] is responsible
for the state of affairs that p at time t, that state of affairs
is good for the [utterer]."
"It is important to note that one thanks the addressee
for something about him and his relation to the state
of affairs specified by the propositional content."
In the case of some illocutionary acts (e.g. "I bet you five dollars  
that..."), Austin notes that uptake is essential ("Unless the addressee 
the "Bet taken", one can hardly be said to have _bet_"). In the case of  
'thanksgiving', a weak point may be made to the effect that some 'you're  
welcome' is due to take the 'thanksgiving' as having been successfully  
performed, performatively speaking. 
And so on.
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