Quotations From JOHN SEARLE


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  • Where questions of style and exposition are concerned I try to follow a simple maxim: if you can't say it clearly you don't understand it yourself.
    John Searle (b. 1932), U.S. philosopher. Intentionality, p. x, Cambridge University Press (1983).
  • An utterance can have Intentionality, just as a belief has Intentionality, but whereas the Intentionality of the belief is intrinsic the Intentionality of the utterance is derived.
    John Searle (b. 1932), U.S. professor of philosophy (University of California at Berkeley). Intentionality: An Essay in the Philosophy of Mind, p. 27, Cambridge University Press (1983).
  • The Intentionality of the mind not only creates the possibility of meaning, but limits its forms.
    John Searle (b. 1932), U.S. professor of philosophy (University of California at Berkeley). Intentionality: An Essay in the Philosophy of Mind, p. 166, Cambridge University Press (1983).
  • The assertion fallacy ... is the fallacy of confusing the conditions for the performance of the speech act of assertion with the analysis of the meaning of particular words occurring in certain assertions.
    John Searle (b. 1932), U.S. philosopher. Speech Acts, p. 141, Cambridge University Press (1969).
  • The ascription of an unconscious intentional phenomenon to a system implies that the phenomenon is in principle accessible to consciousness.
    John Searle (b. 1932), U.S. professor of philosophy (Berkeley). "Consciousness, Explanatory Inversion, and Cognitive Science," The Behavioral and Brain Sciences 13, 4 (December 1990): 585-696. A statement of the author's "connection principle."
  • Whatever is referred to must exist. Let us call this the axiom of existence.
    John Searle (b. 1932), U.S. philosopher. Speech Acts, p. 77, Cambridge University Press (1969).
  • The problem posed by indirect speech acts is the problem of how it is possible for the speaker to say one thing and mean that but also to mean something else.
    John Searle (b. 1932), U.S. philosopher. Expression and Meaning, p. 31, Cambridge University Press (1979).
  • Well, what does "good" mean anyway...? As Wittgenstein suggested, "good," like "game," has a family of meanings. Prominent among them is this one: "meets the criteria or standards of assessment or evaluation."
    John Searle (b. 1932), U.S. philosopher. Speech Acts, p. 152, Cambridge University Press (1969).

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  • Where conscious subjectivity is concerned, there is no distinction between the observation and the thing observed.
    John Searle (b. 1932), U.S. professor of philosophy (Berkeley). The Rediscovery of the Mind, p. 97, MIT Press (1992).
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