This post continues my meditations on the probative reach of retortion. See the category Retortion for more on this intriguing topic.
1. If a number of us are sitting silently in a room, I cannot say 'We are silent' without in some sense contradicting myself. In what sense, exactly? In the performative sense. Were I to say 'We are silent,' my performance (Vollzug in E. Coreth's terminology) -- in this case my utterance -- would be 'inconsistent' with its content. Now contents are propositions, while utterance events are not, the reason being that contents are truth-valued (either true or false assuming Bivalence) while utterance events, like all events, are not truth-valued. It follows that performative inconsistency is not identical to, or a species of, logical inconsistency. Logical consistency/inconsistency is a relation between or among propositions. Two propositions are consistent iff they can both be true, and inconsistent iff they cannot. A single proposition is self-consistent iff its logical form is such as to admit some true substitution-instances. Clearly, there is nothing logically self-inconsistent about 'We are silent.' The sentence is not logically self-contradictory. But I would contradict myself were I to say, in the situation described, 'We are silent.' Curiously, I cannot say in this situation what I know to be true. If I were to say it, I would falsify it. Therefore, the proposition that I know to be true is unassertible salva veritate in the situation in question. No doubt I have the ability to assert the sentence-type 'We are silent'; but I cannot assert it in a way that preserves truth. But this does not show that the proposition is false, or that its negation -- We are not silent -- is true.