Organon F

Volume 28, May 2021, Issue 2, Pages 326–359

ISSN 2585-7150 (online) ISSN 1335-0668 (print)

Research Article

Self-Expression in Speech Act

Maciej Witek


My aim in this paper is to examine Mitchell S. Green’s notion of self-expression and the role it plays in his model of illocutionary communication. The paper is organized into three parts. In Section 2, after discussing Green’s notions of illocutionary speaker meaning and self-expression, I consider the contribution that self-expression makes to the mechanisms of intentional communication; in particular, I introduce the notion of proto-illocutionary speaker meaning and argue that it is necessary to account for acts overtly showing general commitments that are not ‘marked’ as being specific to one or another illocutionary force. In Section 3, I focus on Green’s account of expressive norms and argue that their function is to stabilize rather than constitute the structure of illocutionary signaling systems; moreover, I examine critically Green’s idea according to which expressive norms enable us to indicate the force of our speech acts and suggest that they play a key role in the mechanisms for epistemic vigilance. Finally, in Section 4, I elaborate on the idea of discourse-constituted thoughts—or, in other words, thoughts that ex- ist in virtue of being expressed in making certain conversation-bound speech acts—and use it to develop a more comprehensive model of the expressive dimension of speech acts.


Expressive norms; illocutionary communication; self-expression; speaker meaning; speech acts.

Author(s) and affiliation(s)


Maciej Witek 


University of Szczecin


Institute of Philosophy and Cognitive Science, University of Szczecin ul. Krakowska 71-79, 71-017 Szczecin, Poland.


About this article


23 July 2019


8 June 2020


12 December 2020

Published online

17 March 2021


Institute of Philosophy of the Slovak Academy of Sciences

Institute of Philosophy of the Czech Academy of Sciences

Cite as


Witek, M. (2021). Self-Expression in Speech Acts. Organon F28(2), 326–359.


Witek, Maciej. 2021. "Self-Expression in Speech Acts." Organon F 28 (2): 326–359.


Witek, M.  (2021). Self-Expression in Speech Acts. Organon F, 28(2), pp. 326–359.

Copyright information

© Maciej Witek

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