How to Do Things Without Words: A Theory of Declarations

J. P. Smit*, Filip Buekens

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    4 Citations (Scopus)


    Declarations like this meeting is adjourned make certain facts the case by representing them as being the case. Yet surprisingly little attention has been paid to the mechanism whereby the utterance of a declaration can bring about a new state of affairs. In this paper, we use the incentivization account of institutional facts to address this issue. We argue that declarations can serve to bring about new states of affairs as their utterance have game theoretical import, typically in virtue of the utterer signaling a commitment to act in an incentive-changing way.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)235-254
    Number of pages20
    JournalPhilosophy of the Social Sciences
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017


    • declarations
    • institutions
    • incentivization account
    • Searle
    • MONEY


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