J. L. Austin

John AustinAustinJohn L. AustinJ.L. AustinJohn Langshaw AustinAustin, J. L.Austin, John L.Austin, John LangshawDoing Things With WordsJ L Austin
John Langshaw Austin (26 March 1911 – 8 February 1960) was a British philosopher of language and leading proponent of ordinary language philosophy, perhaps best known for developing the theory of speech acts.wikipedia
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Philosophy of language

languagephilosopher of languagetheory of reference
John Langshaw Austin (26 March 1911 – 8 February 1960) was a British philosopher of language and leading proponent of ordinary language philosophy, perhaps best known for developing the theory of speech acts.
The constructivist theory of meaning claims that speech is not only passively describing a given reality, but it can change the (social) reality it is describing through speech acts, which for linguistics was as revolutionary a discovery as for physics was the discovery that the very act of measurement can change the measured reality itself. Speech act theory was developed by J. L. Austin, although other previous thinkers have had similar ideas.

Ordinary language philosophy

ordinary languageordinary language philosopherslinguistic philosophy
John Langshaw Austin (26 March 1911 – 8 February 1960) was a British philosopher of language and leading proponent of ordinary language philosophy, perhaps best known for developing the theory of speech acts. Austin occupies a place in philosophy of language alongside the Cantabrigian Wittgenstein and Austin's fellow Oxonian, Gilbert Ryle, in staunchly advocating the examination of the way words are ordinarily used in order to elucidate meaning and by this means avoid philosophical confusions.
These ideas were further elaborated from 1945 onwards through the work of some Oxford University philosophers led initially by Gilbert Ryle, then followed by J. L. Austin.

Noam Chomsky

ChomskyChomsky, NoamChomskyan
It was at this time that he met and befriended Noam Chomsky.
Both Quine and a visiting philosopher, J. L. Austin of the University of Oxford, strongly influenced Chomsky.

Speech act

speech actsspeech act theoryIndirect speech act
John Langshaw Austin (26 March 1911 – 8 February 1960) was a British philosopher of language and leading proponent of ordinary language philosophy, perhaps best known for developing the theory of speech acts. The action which is performed when a 'performative utterance' is issued belongs to what Austin later calls a speech-act (more particularly, the kind of action Austin has in mind is what he subsequently terms the illocutionary act). For example, if you say "I name this ship the Queen Elizabeth," and the circumstances are appropriate in certain ways, then you will have done something special, namely, you will have performed the act of naming the ship.
The contemporary use of the term goes back to J. L. Austin's development of performative utterances and his theory of locutionary, illocutionary, and perlocutionary acts.

Literae humaniores

GreatsClassicsliteræ humaniores
In 1933, he received a First in Literae Humaniores (Classics and Philosophy) as well as the Gaisford Prize for Greek prose and first class honours in his finals.
J. L. Austin, British philosopher of language

Performative utterance

performativeperformativesperformative utterances
After introducing several kinds of sentences which he asserts are neither true nor false, he turns in particular to one of these kinds of sentences, which he calls performative utterances or just "performatives".
In his 1955 William James lecture series, which were later published under the title How to Do Things with Words, J. L. Austin argued against a positivist philosophical claim that the utterances always "describe" or "constate" something and are thus always true or false.

Illocutionary act

illocutionaryillocutionary forceforce
The action which is performed when a 'performative utterance' is issued belongs to what Austin later calls a speech-act (more particularly, the kind of action Austin has in mind is what he subsequently terms the illocutionary act). For example, if you say "I name this ship the Queen Elizabeth," and the circumstances are appropriate in certain ways, then you will have done something special, namely, you will have performed the act of naming the ship.
The concept of illocutionary acts was introduced into linguistics by the philosopher J. L. Austin in his investigation of the various aspects of speech acts.

John Cook Wilson

J. Cook Wilson
Austin's early interests included Aristotle, Kant, Leibniz, and Plato (especially the Theaetetus). His more contemporary influences included especially G. E. Moore, John Cook Wilson and H. A. Prichard.
He also features prominently in the work of J.L. Austin, John McDowell, and Timothy Williamson.

Lancaster, Lancashire

LancasterLancastrianCity of Lancaster
Austin was born in Lancaster, England, the second son of Geoffrey Langshaw Austin (1884–1971), an architect, and his wife Mary Hutton Bowes-Wilson (1883–1948; née Wilson).
J. L. Austin (1911–1960) – philosopher and developer of the theory of speech acts, was born in Lancaster.

Balliol College, Oxford

Balliol CollegeBalliolBaliol College
Austin was educated at Shrewsbury School in 1924, earning a scholarship in Classics, and went on to study Classics at Balliol College, Oxford in 1929.
Notable Balliol philosophers include Adam Smith (Snell Exhibitioner), T. H. Green, J. L. Austin, Charles Taylor, Bernard Williams, R. M. Hare, Michael Sandel, Joseph Raz, Ian Gooch, Michael Otsuka, Derek Parfit, Michael E. Rosen, and Timothy Williamson.

Gaisford Prize

Gaisford Greek Prose PrizeGaisford Greek Verse PrizeGaisford Prize for Greek Prose
In 1933, he received a First in Literae Humaniores (Classics and Philosophy) as well as the Gaisford Prize for Greek prose and first class honours in his finals.
1931: John Langshaw Austin (Balliol).

White's Professor of Moral Philosophy

professor of moral philosophy at OxfordWhiteWhyte's Professor of Moral Philosophy
After the war Austin became White's Professor of Moral Philosophy at Oxford, as a Professorial Fellow of Corpus Christi College.
1952 John Langshaw (J. L.) Austin (1911–1960), MA, Fellow of All Souls College and Magdalen College

J. O. Urmson

J.O. UrmsonJames UrmsonUrmson, J. O.
"How to Do Things With Words", edited by J. O. Urmson and Marina Bissau, records Austin's lectures on this topic. Austin's papers were collected and published posthumously as Philosophical Papers by J. O. Urmson and Geoffrey Warnock.
Urmson and his co-editor G. J. Warnock performed an invaluable service to the development of "analytic" or "linguistic" philosophy by preparing for publication the papers of the Oxford linguistic philosopher J. L. Austin.

Sense and Sensibilia (Austin)

Sense and Sensibilia
"Sentences are not as such either true or false" - Sense and Sensibilia (1962), p. 111
Sense and Sensibilia is a landmark 1962 work of ordinary language philosophy by J. L. Austin, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Oxford.

Sense data

sense-datasensory experienceperceptual data
In the posthumously published Sense and Sensibilia (the title is Austin's own, and wittily echoes the title of Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen's first book, just as his name echoes hers), Austin criticizes the claims put forward by A. J. Ayer's The Foundations of Empirical Knowledge (1940), and to a lesser extent, H.H. Price's Perception (1932) and G. J. Warnock's Berkley (1953), concerning the sense-data theory.
Sense data theories have been criticised by philosophers such as J. L. Austin and Wilfrid Sellars (Sellars diagnosing in them The Myth of the Given), and more recently by Kevin O'Regan, Alva Noë and Daniel Dennett.

John Searle

SearleJohn R. SearleSearle, John
Searle, J. (1969), Speech Acts: An Essay in the Philosophy of Language, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (Searle's has been the most notable of attempts to extend and adjust Austin's conception of speech acts).
Searle's early work on speech acts, influenced by J. L. Austin and Ludwig Wittgenstein, helped establish his reputation.

Pragmatics

pragmaticpragmaticallylinguistic pragmatics
Pragmatics
J.L. Austin introduced the concept of the performative, contrasted in his writing with "constative" (i.e. descriptive) utterances.

Stanley Cavell

CavellCavell, Stanley
As an interpreter, he produced influential works on Wittgenstein, Austin, Emerson, Thoreau, and Heidegger.

A. J. Ayer

A.J. AyerAlfred Jules AyerAyer
In the posthumously published Sense and Sensibilia (the title is Austin's own, and wittily echoes the title of Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen's first book, just as his name echoes hers), Austin criticizes the claims put forward by A. J. Ayer's The Foundations of Empirical Knowledge (1940), and to a lesser extent, H.H. Price's Perception (1932) and G. J. Warnock's Berkley (1953), concerning the sense-data theory.
Ayer's sense-data theory in Foundations of Empirical Knowledge was famously criticised by fellow Oxonian J. L. Austin in Sense and Sensibilia, a landmark 1950s work of common language philosophy.

Meaning (linguistics)

meaninglinguistic meaningmeanings
Austin occupies a place in philosophy of language alongside the Cantabrigian Wittgenstein and Austin's fellow Oxonian, Gilbert Ryle, in staunchly advocating the examination of the way words are ordinarily used in order to elucidate meaning and by this means avoid philosophical confusions.
J. L. Austin

Geoffrey Warnock

Sir Geoffrey WarnockG. J. WarnockGeoffrey James Warnock
Austin's papers were collected and published posthumously as Philosophical Papers by J. O. Urmson and Geoffrey Warnock.
Warnock and his co-editor J. O. Urmson performed an invaluable service to the development of "analytic" or "linguistic" philosophy by preparing for publication the papers of their friend and fellow Oxford linguistic philosopher J. L. Austin.

Performative turn

performative project
Performative turn
The second strand of theory concerns a development in the philosophy of language launched by John Austin in the 1950s.

Isaiah Berlin

Sir Isaiah BerlinBerlin, IsaiahBerlin
Berlin, I. et al., (ed.) (1973) Essays on J.L. Austin, Oxford: The Clarendon Press.
While still a student, he befriended Ayer (with whom he was to share a lifelong amicable rivalry), Stuart Hampshire, Richard Wollheim, Maurice Bowra, Stephen Spender, Inez Pearn, J. L. Austin and Nicolas Nabokov.

Sidney Morgenbesser

his sharp witticisms and humor
During a lecture at Columbia University attended by American philosopher Sidney Morgenbesser, Austin made the claim that although a in English implies a positive meaning, there is no language in which a double positive implies a negative. To which Morgenbesser responded in a dismissive tone, "Yeah, yeah." (Some have quoted it as "Yeah, right.")
In reference to a mention by linguist J. L. Austin that, while there are several languages that employ a double negative to denote a positive, "there exists no language in which the equivalent is true. There is no language that employs a double positive to make a negative."

Analytic philosophy

Analyticanalytic philosopheranalytical philosophy
The other, known as "Oxford philosophy", involved J.L. Austin.