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Quotations From J.L. (JOHN LANGSHAW) AUSTIN

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  • For this reason I think it might be better to use, for this way of doing philosophy, some less misleading name than those given above—for instance, 'linguistic phenomenology,' only that is rather a mouthful.
    J.L. (John Langshaw) Austin (1911-1960), British philosopher. "A Plea for Excuses," Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society (1956). Philosophical Papers, p. 182, Oxford University Press, second edition (1970).
  • I begin, then, with some remarks about 'the meaning of a word.' I think many persons now see all or part of what I shall say: but not all do, and there is a tendency to forget, or to get it slightly wrong. In so far as I am merely flogging the converted, I apologize to them.
    J.L. (John Langshaw) Austin (1911-1960), British philosopher. Philosophical Papers, "The Meaning of a Word," p. 56, Oxford University Press, second edition (1970).
  • The theory of truth is a series of truisms.
    J.L. (John Langshaw) Austin (1911-1960), British philosopher. "Truth," Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, vol. xxiv (1950). Philosophical Papers, p. 121, Oxford University Press, second edition (1970).

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  • What I shall have to say here is neither difficult nor contentious; the only merit I should like to claim for it is that of being true, at least in parts.
    J.L. (John Langshaw) Austin (1911-1960), British philosopher. How to Do Things With Words, Lecture 1, Harvard University Press (1962).
  • Usually it is uses of words, not words in themselves, that are properly called 'vague.'
    J.L. (John Langshaw) Austin (1911-1960), British philosopher. Sense and Sensibilia, p. 126, Oxford University Press (1962).
  • Let us distinguish between acting intentionally and acting deliberately or on purpose, as far as this can be done by attending to what language can teach us.
    J.L. (John Langshaw) Austin (1911-1960), British philosopher. Philosophical Papers, "Three Ways of Spilling Ink," p. 273, Oxford University Press, second edition (1970).
  • We walk along the cliff, and I feel a sudden impulse to push you over, which I promptly do: I acted on impulse, yet I certainly intended to push you over, and may even have devised a little ruse to achieve it; yet even then I did not act deliberately, for I did not (stop to) ask myself whether to do it or not.
    J.L. (John Langshaw) Austin (1911-1960), British philosopher. Philosophical Papers, "The Meaning of a Word," p. 195, Oxford University Press, second edition (1970).
  • You are more than entitled not to know what the word 'performative' means. It is a new word and an ugly word, and perhaps it does not mean anything very much. But at any rate there is one thing in its favor, it is not a profound word.
    J.L. (John Langshaw) Austin (1911-1960), British philosopher. "Performative Utterances." Philosophical Papers, p. 233, Oxford University Press, second edition (1970).
  • I feel ruefully sure, also, that one must be at least one sort of fool to rush in over ground so well trodden by the angels.
    J.L. (John Langshaw) Austin (1911-1960), British philosopher. Philosophical Papers, p. 76, Oxford University Press, second edition (1970). Remark concerning discussing the problem of other minds.
  • A sentence is made up of words, a statement is made in words.... Statements are made, words or sentences are used.
    J.L. (John Langshaw) Austin (1911-1960), British philosopher. "Truth," Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, vol. xxiv (1950). Philosophical Papers, p. 120, Oxford University Press, second edition (1970).
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