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How to Do Things with Words (1955)

by J. L. Austin

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1,288814,995 (3.95)6
This work sets out Austin's conclusions in the field to which he directed his main efforts for at least the last ten years of his life. Starting from an exhaustive examination of his already well-known distinction between performative utterances and statements, Austin here finally abandons that distinction, replacing it with a more general theory of 'illocutionary forces' of utterances which has important bearings on a wide variety of philosophical problems.… (more)
  1. 10
    The Message in the Bottle: How Queer Man Is, How Queer Language Is, and What One Has to Do with the Other by Walker Percy (elenchus)
    elenchus: Austin analyses possible speech acts, and discusses how every statement is usually a mix of these. Percy focuses on one type of speech act, the denotative (naming) act, and argues it is perhaps the most important of all. Different styles of argument, but they supplement one another quite well.… (more)
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English (7)  Spanish (1)  All languages (8)
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
Ο Ώστιν (J. L. Austin, 1911-1962) ανέλυσε πρώτος, στο How to Do Things With Words, ένα κλασικό βιβλίο της φιλοσοφίας του εικοστού αιώνα, την πρακτική διάσταση του ίδιου του λόγου - τους λόγους που οι ίδιοι είναι έργα. Όταν υποσχόμαστε, όταν ορκιζόμαστε, όταν διατάσσουμε, προειδοποιούμε, στοιχηματίζουμε... . δεν περιγράφουμε αλλά πράττουμε, δεν αποτυπώνουμε ένα πράγμα, αληθώς ή ψευδώς, αλλά κάνουμε, παράγουμε ένα πράγμα, εύστοχα ή άστοχα. Η παρούσα σχολιασμένη μετάφραση αποτελεί ένα είδος άθλου όσον αφορά τη μεταφορά στα ελληνικά αναλύσεων της αγγλικής καθομιλουμένης - δεδομένου μάλιστα ότι την ανάλυση της καθημερινής γλώσσας θεωρούσε ο Ώστιν απαραίτητο έργο της φιλοσοφίας - αλλά και όσον αφορά την απόδοση μιας σειράς νεότευκτων όρων. Όπως δείχνει και το εκτενές επίμετρο του Χάρη Χρόνη, αυτό το βιβλίο καταγράφει ταυτόχρονα μια υποδειγματική μεθοδική διαδικασία. Εφόσον η επιτελεστική διάσταση δεν μπορεί εν τέλει να απομονωθεί από την διαπιστωτική, ο Ώστιν προσφεύγει στην τριχοτόμηση λεκτικό-ενδολεκτικό-περιλεκτικό, προχωρώντας έτσι σε μια καλά θεμελιωμένη «αλλαγή παραδείγματος», η οποία δεν καταργεί το αρχικό πλαίσιο, αλλά το εντάσσει σε ένα άλλο ευρύτερο, κάτι που θα μπορούσε να ιδωθεί ως πρότυπο για την ορθολογική αλλαγή εννοιολογικών πλαισίων γενικά.
  AG0900 | Mar 6, 2024 |
Com um pouquinho de acabamento pelo autor esse livro seria uma obra prima, pois que com a reconstrução de notas de palestra já é bastante impressionante e traça um itinerário que me parece necessário para pensarmos a linguagem e o significado (o que é um significado, "a questão do significado"). São 12 palestrinhas, que começam com recapitulações fofas, chamando a atenção para o caráter performativo de certas frases, em contraste com sentenças descritivas, entendidas como constatações. A ênfase é então não na verdade, mas se a ação envolvendo a linguagem é feliz (adequada, apropriada, tem as consequências esperadas). Mas ao avaliar melhor os tipos de infelicidade quanto às ações linguageiras, ao introduzir as diferenças entre locução, ilocução e perlocução, e pensar a força de um ato de fala, Austin acaba por desvelar o caráter inerentemente normativo da prática linguística. Pois mesmo fazer asserções é se comprometer com certos valores, consequências, visões. E isso leva a ideia do significado como uso para além de uma lista de frases em que um conceito é utilizado, mas para os contextos de uso e o que eles acarretam. ( )
  henrique_iwao | Aug 30, 2022 |
1) The distinctions Austin makes are useful.
2) The distinctions don't hold up.
3) The collapse of the distinctions is useful. ( )
3 vote JLNeyhart | Dec 3, 2013 |
an easy-reading classic ( )
1 vote iBeth | Mar 27, 2009 |
It's worth noting the title is a pun.

Austin examines when a speech act is performative and not merely constative: when the 'saying' evokes or conjures rather than (merely) states or describes, and is itself an activity (not merely in the trivial sense of flexing vocal cords, etc). Examples such as "I bet", in which case the bet is realised in the saying, rather than the speech act serving merely to report what is happening. Similarly, "I do" (in a wedding ceremony), "I christen this ship", or any number of verdicts such as by a judge or umpire.

In short: magick, though of course Austin declines to use any such vocabulary, assuming even that he was familiar with it.

Begins by drawing a sharp distinction between constative utterances and performative utterances, for the sake of pursuing his argument. Ends by arguing that all speech acts are always both, preferring then to describe three functions of all speech acts rather than to sort them into discrete categories: locutionary, illocutionary, perlocutionary (introduced in Lecture VIII).

Locutionary has a meaning (and is comprised of phonetic, phatic, rhetic acts). "The bull is going to charge."

Illocutionary has a certain force in saying something. Warning someone by stating "The bull is going to charge".

Perlocutionary achieves a certain effect in saying something. Persuading someone to cease making noise and waving a red handkerchief by stating "The bull is going to charge".

Lecture IV touches on the notion / possibility that all persuasion is essentially coercive; but does not explore this so much as evoke it.

Lecture IX links the above to cybernetic causation (signals and responses) as distinct from Newtonian causation (billiard balls).

Lecture XI touches on the relevance of truth / falsity of performatives, and in general. "[W]hat we have to study is not the sentence but the issuance of an utterance in a speech situation." (139) And issuances are not themselves true / false so much as successful or not, on various criteria. "The truth or falsity of a statement depends not merely on the meaning of words but on what act you were performing in what circumstances." (145)

Overall, the approach is analytical in the manner of Robert Dahl in his examination of democratic political theory.

"But the real conclusion must surely be that we need (a) to distinguish between locutionary and illocutionary acts, and (b) specially and critically to establish with respect to each kind of illocutionary act -- warnings, estimates, verdicts, statements, and descriptions -- what if any is the specific way in which they are intended, first to be in order or not in order, and second, to be 'right' or 'wrong'; what terms of appraisal and disappraisal are used for each and what they mean. This is a wide field and certainly will not lead to a conclusion of 'true' and 'false'; nor will it lead to a distinction of statements from the rest, for stating is only one among very numerous speech acts of the illocutionary class.
"Furthermore, in general the locutionary act as well as the illocutionary is an abstraction only: every genuine speech act is both." (147) ( )
5 vote elenchus | Jan 3, 2009 |
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» Add other authors (20 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Austin, J. L.Authorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Blumbergs, IlmārsIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sbisa, MarinaEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Urmson, James OpieEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vējš, Jānis NameisisTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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This work sets out Austin's conclusions in the field to which he directed his main efforts for at least the last ten years of his life. Starting from an exhaustive examination of his already well-known distinction between performative utterances and statements, Austin here finally abandons that distinction, replacing it with a more general theory of 'illocutionary forces' of utterances which has important bearings on a wide variety of philosophical problems.

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