31 August 2007

I Hereby Say That I Hereby Say It

The smallest of points, but a curiosity.

If you found your way to the end of a recent review of David Velleman's Self to Self, you would have encountered the following as its conclusion:

The papers in Self to Self merit much more detailed engagement than I have been able to undertake here. The volume collects some of the best papers written on the topics of self, moral psychology, and Kantian ethics in the last decade. It almost goes without saying that Self to Self is required reading for anyone who has any interest in any of these topics. But I hereby say it anyway.
I'll say straightaway that I think the claim that "almost goes without saying" is false (required for what?).

But I'm puzzled by the concluding performative. It looks like a conflation between "I hereby require it" (which the author would be conscious he had no authority to say) and "I here say it" (which would be lame and weak).

Isn't merely saying that something is the case eo ipso not a performative? Or, if for someone it must be, and he needs to flag the fact that he is saying something in order to succeed in saying it, then presumably everything else that he says (without the flag) was never said.

In which case the entire review, as it were, goes without saying.