Non-repudiation and the Metaphysics of Presence

(Extended Abstract)
  • Michael Roe
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 4631)


J. L. Austin’s theory of speech acts [1] identifies two classes of utterance:

  • Constative statements, which can be either true or false.

  • Performatives, which are neither true nor false but instead do something. Performatives can misfire (fail to have their conventional effect) if they are invoked by an inappropriate person or in inappropriate circumstances (e.g. a ship’s purser cannot validly marry two people; a priest cannot validly baptize a penguin).

A revised version of his theory recogised that some utterances can belong to both classes simultaneously. In this revised theory, locutions can have a illocutory aspect (doing something) and a perlocutory aspect (changing the recipients’ emotions or state of mind, e.g. by persuading them).


Credit Card Constative Statement Authentication Protocol Security Protocol Literary Criticism 
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  1. 1.
    Austin, J.L.: How to do things with words. In: Urmson, J.O., Sbisà, M. (eds.) Oxford Paperbacks (2004)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Derrida, J.: Signature, event, context. In: Margins of Philosophy, pp. 307–330. University of Chicago Press, Translated by Alan Bass (1984)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Howells, C.: Derrida: Deconstruction from Phenomenology to Ethics, vol. 3. Polity Press, Cambridge (1998)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Roe
    • 1
  1. 1.Microsoft Research Limited, Cambridge 

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