Monday, 8 June 2015

Misconstruing The Distinction Between Condition And Purpose

Martin (1992: 194):
The distinction between condition and purpose has to do with modulation again.  Purposives contain an additional modulation of inclination, associated with the Effect (the Effect is desired).  This can be brought out by comparing hypotactic and paratactic realisations of the purposive relation; these proportionalities also reveal another peculiarity of purposive relations, namely that desire for Effect commences before the Causewanting to win, get there on time and give the opposition a chance are the motivation for, not the results of, training hard, driving fast and skating slowly in the examples below (with all other consequential relations the Cause is temporally anterior):
we trained hard so that we'd win :
we wanted to win, and so we trained hard :: 
we drove fast in order to get there on time :
we were keen to get there on time and so we drove fast :: 
we skated slowly to give them a chance :
we were willing to give them a chance and so we skated slowly

Blogger Comments:

This is the first of two critiques of this extract.

[1] This confuses the ideational and interpersonal metafunctions.  The distinction between the logical categories of condition and purpose is logical, not interpersonal (modulation).  In SFL theory, as elsewhere, the logical meaning of condition is if P then Q whereas the logical meaning of purpose is because intention Q so action P.

[2] Logically, neither condition nor purpose involve a cause-effect relation.  In SFL theory, the cause-effect relation — because P so result Q — is construed logically by cause: reason and cause: result.

[3] This misconstrues the purpose relation — because intention Q so action P — as desire.  The semantic distinction between intention and desire is demonstrated by the contrast between he intends to get his tooth extracted today and he wants to get his tooth extracted today.