John Langshaw Austin


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John Langshaw Austin (26 March 1911, – 8 February 1960) was a British philosopher of language. He is remembered primarily as the developer of the theory of speech acts.

Prior to Austin, the attention of linguistic and analytic philosophers had been directed almost exclusively to statements, assertions, and propositions — to linguistic acts that (at least in theory) have truth-value. ... more »

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  • 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 ac...
    J.L. (John Langshaw) Austin (1911-1960), British philosopher. Philosophical Papers, "The Meaning of a Word," p. 195, Oxford University Press, second e...
  • 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...
    J.L. (John Langshaw) Austin (1911-1960), British philosopher. "Performative Utterances." Philosophical Papers, p. 233, Oxford University Press, second...
  • Certainly ordinary language has no claim to be the last word, if there is such a thing. It embodies, indeed, something better than the metaphysics of the Stone Age, namely, as was said, the inherited ...
    J.L. (John Langshaw) Austin (1911-1960), British philosopher. "A Plea for Excuses," Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society (1956). Philosophical Pape...
  • ''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 ...
  • ''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, sec...
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