The Process of Speech-acting Specifies Methods for Grasping Meaning. Ten Operations. A Contribution to Hermeneutics


  • Thorvald Gran university of Bergen, Norway



hermeneutics, speech acts, meaning formation and organization theory


How does speech-acting theory explain thegeneration of meaning and meaningful collective action? What place does firstperson subjective experience have in the theory? What are some of themethodological implications of the theory? The purpose here is to outline the Searlean theory of meaning formationand to draw some directions for research into meaning formation andorganization from that outline. Searle assumes a deep intentionality, adirectedness towards the world of all the human capacities. Searle asks: how dohumans from external inputs from the world and through language produceknowledge of the world and organized projects that implemented change theworld. Reasoning implies meaning. Reasons to act identify conditions of success= a meaningful act. Research directions (10) are drawn from elements of the speech act theory: the locutionary process, status assignments and meanings,willfulness, types of speech acts, decision-making and organization.

Author Biography

Thorvald Gran, university of Bergen, Norway

Department of administration and organization theory, professor emeritus political science


Butler, J. (2003). Performative acts and gender constitution. An essay in phenomenology and feminist theory. Chapter 72 in Auslander, P. (2003). Performance. Critical concepts in literary and cultural studies. Volume 4
Butler, J. (1997). Excitable speech. A politics of the performative. Routledge, New York and London
Fleming, V. et al. (2003) (Gaidys, U. and Robb, Y.) Hermeneutic research in nursing: developing a Gadamerian-based research method. Nursing Inquiry 10(2)
Gran, Thorvald (2014). Organizational analysis. The generative speech act model. Paper to the Winir conference, London, September.
Gran, Thorvald. (2011). John Searle on the concept of political power, the power of states and war-making. Journal of Institutional Economics no 2.
Jacobsen, Knut D. (1964). Teknisk hjelp og politisk struktur. Universitetsforlaget. Oslo
Lie, Haakon (1985). Skjebneår 1945 – 1950. Tiden Norsk Forlag
Moules et al. (2014). (Field, N; McCaffrey, J. and Laing, C.) Conducting Hermeneutic Research: The Address of the Topic. Journal of Applied Hermeneutics. April
Searle, John. (1979). Expression and meaning. Studies in the theory of speech acts. Cambridge University Press
Searle, John. (1995). The construction of social reality. The Free Press. New York
Searle, John. (2001). Rationality in action. The MIT Press
Searle, John. (2004). Freedom and neurobiology. Reflections on free will, language and political power. Columbia University Press
Searle, John. (2010). Making the social world. The structure of human civilization. Oxford University Press
Taylor, Charles. (1985). Human agency and language. Philosophical papers 1. Cambridge University Press
Tollefsen, Deborah P. (2002). Collective intentionality and the social sciences. Philosophy of the social sciences. Volume 32
Tuomela, Raimo. (2013). Social ontology. Collective intentionality and group agents. Oxford University Press