In this article I propose to interpret Austin's conception of perlocution in light of Peirce's philosophy of signs, through the lens of his notions of thirdness and speculative rhetoric in particular. I suggest that the traditional notion of speech genre, examined within the context of Peirce's semiotic framework, can make sense of the regularities and predictability that are characteristic of a large part of our discursive practices. More specifically, I argue that crystallized “habits of interpretation,” correlated to purposeful speech genres instantiated in given circumstances of enunciation, could be construed as predetermining the range of future interpretive conduct. In that perspective, this process of determination could be thus conceived as relatively predictable, at least for communication situations activating well-defined speech genres. In the end, I suggest that Peirce's conception of rhetoric draws attention to the necessarily constrained interpretive habits of our discursive life, yielding an original perspective on the notion of perlocution.

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