But why? This passage might point towards an answer.
Before I deal with this, though, let me make one general observation or confession. Many of you will be getting impatient at this approach – and to some extent quite justifiably. You will say ‘Why not cut to the cackle? Why go on about lists available in ordinary talk of names for things we do that have relations to saying, and about formulas like the “in” and “by” formulas? Why not get to discussing the thing bang off in terms of linguistics and psychology in a straightforward fashion? Why be so devious?’ Well, of course, I agree that this will have to be done – only I say after, not before, seeing what we can screw out of ordinary language even if in what comes out there is a strong element of the undeniable. Otherwise we shall overlook things and go to fast. (Austin, 1962, p. 122)
Do I agree? Not that it matters, but partly yes. In spirit, the idea that – in what concerns language at least – we should first be aware of the ‘language game’ before theorizing about the rules comes out clean and rather hard to refuse. In practice, when it comes to speech acts, taking too keen an interest in the way we name the acts (e.g. arguing, saying, warning, declaring etc.) might be a constraining, instead of a liberating, road.
Now, while we’re at it, let us stop for a moment and take a quick look at argumentation theory from this perspective. The idea is discussed at length in Jacobs (1989) “Speech acts and arguments”. The question: how useful is our pedestrian nomenclature of so-called performative verbs in dealing with instances of argumentation? Informal logicians’ answer: ‘Why bother? Gimme reasoning in any way shape or form’. Jacobs’s answer adds moderation but walks along the same lines: “the notion of argument as a stable, homogeneous class of utterances definable by a common force and a common set of felicity conditions does not fare well when tested against actual language uses.” (p. 230). So the classificatory powers of the nomenclature are cute and offer a starting point, but we are way too move on with just that. Interestingly, pragma-dialecticians seem to be the only ones enjoying it; not the list of verbs itself (and, to be precise, not the Austinian view of convention) but the composed stability of describing speech acts from felicity conditions and analyzing language use with that as a model.