Wednesday, December 07, 2005

When the only action is speech action.

If you decide not to go home with someone, and that person argues with you about it, and you end up fighting, and then the next morning you get a text message that says "Sometimes you have to fight for the good things. XX" does the context warrant your having taken it as an apology rather than the unapologetic explanation you later find out that it was?


Blogger g odoreida said...

My expert opinion has a surprise twist at the end!

In context, even ex ante, the most plausible interpretation is that the text message is not an apology--at least not the sort of apology that expresses an intention not to do the same thing again (where I take it the relevant conduct is trying to get you to go home and arguing about the ensuing refusal). It might be reasonable to take it as an expression of regret over the fight, and it is certainly intended as a compliment, but on its face it does not seem like an expression of Contrition if I'm speaking Catholic properly.

I bet you wish I had told you this over Thanksgiving, eh?

BUT, there is a sense in which you were justified in taking it as an apology. Assume (what I think likely) that you were willing to continue the whatever-it-was if and only if it was really an apology, and that it would have been impossible to continue it if you didn't sincerely believe that it was an apology. Then there was a lot to be lost by believing that it was not an apology if it really was. Whereas the downside of believing it was an apology when it wasn't is pretty small (assuming that something absolutely terrible didn't happen, which it better not have)--more or less a repeat of the fight. So even if the preponderance of evidence is that it is not a real apology, you may have been prudentially justified in thinking that it is a real apology, so long as there was some small chance that it was; which I think there was.

3:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

dump him, that's lame.

10:05 PM  

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